The Eighth Day

Director:Jaco van Dormael
Writers:Jaco van Dormeal with Laurette Vankeerberghen and Didier de Neck
Director of Photography:Walther Vanden Ende
Editor:Susana Rossberg
Music:Pierre van Dormael
Producer:Philippe Godeau
Gramercy Pictures; NR; 114 minutes
Cast:Daniel Auteuil, Pascal Duquenne and Miou-Miou
In French with English subtitles

No shortage of in-your-face sentimentality, but The Eighth Day does pull at your heartstrings no matter how hard you resist. Auteuil and Duquenne, who has Down's syndrome, shared Best Actor honors at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival for their roles in this Rain Man-like story. Absorbed in his job as a high-powered salesman, Harry (Auteuil) forgets to pick up his daughters at the train station. Disgusted with Harry's self-involvement, his ex-wife (Miou-Miou) and children vow to never see the man again. Anguished, Harry contemplates suicide as he recklessly drives along a country road. He nearly hits Georges (Duquenne), who has escaped from his group home. Initially, Harry tries to ditch Georges, who has fits of belligerence, but in their week together, Georges shows Harry the little pleasures in life that have passed him by. The best sequences spring from Georges's head, as he imagines his dead mother and pictures himself sitting next to a singer clad in a purple mariachi suit.