Letting go of their Gilded Cage won’t be easy

The Gilded Cage by Ruben Alves is one of nine French comedies in the French Comedies collection and will soon be available via video on demand. 

Written by the director together with Jean-Andre Yerles and Hugo Gelin, the story focuses on Maria and Jose, a Portuguese immigrant couple who work as a concierge and a construction site supervisor. For 30 years, they have lived in the basement of a Haussmann-style building in a posh area of Paris. The couple, who are discreet, hard-working and always ready to help, are well liked by their employers and neighbours, and have become an indispensable part of daily life to those who surround them. Out of the blue, Maria and Jose inherit a house in Portugal. But the will states that they can only enjoy this fortune and make their life’s dream a reality on the condition that they leave Paris for good and return to Portugal. Nobody wants to see them go, and even the couple themselves are not really sure if they want to leave their precious ‘gilded cage’.

Staying true to Ruben Alves’ personal life (he is the son of Portuguese immigrants in France, which inspired the film), Maria and Jose are played by Portuguese actors Rita Blanco (Amour) and Joaquim de Almeida (who moved to the US). Their daughter, Paula, is played by Franco-Portuguese actress Barbara Cabrita, while Maria’s friend Rosa is portrayed by popular Portuguese actress Maria Vieira. The other star duo in the film is a French couple (the husband is Jose’s manager), played by Roland Giraud and Chantal Lauby (Serial (Bad) Weddings) – regulars on the French comedy scene.

Funny, light and touching, The Gilded Cage pays tribute to the humble Portuguese community and what they are known for in France (including their jobs, salted cod, wine from Porto, fado and football). It also looks at how the host country treats these immigrants and their offspring. The film is also about universally appreciated values, which explains its success.

The film won the People's Choice Award at the 26th European Film Awards as well as at the Alpe d'Huez International Comedy Film Festival, where Chantal Lauby also won Best Female. In 2014, Rita Blanco took home the Best Actress Award at the Portuguese Golden Globes. The Gilded Cage was a hit with the Portuguese audience, becoming the most-watched film in Portugal in 2013, with 750,000 admissions.

Having been released in French cinemas – where it racked up 1.2 million admissions, equivalent to the number of Portuguese immigrants in France, as well as in Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland – The Gilded Cage will be exclusively available on video on demand in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Great Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands from 1 September.

 Trailer for UK:

Trailer for Ireland:

18 September 2015, by Cineuropa