Film Review: Gad Elmaleh’s ‘Reste Un Peu’

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Film Review: Gad Elmaleh’s ‘Reste Un Peu’
A film about a French-Jewish comic’s tortuous odyssey from Judaism to Catholicism and back might seem an unlikely Christmas movie. It doesn’t even take place during Christmas, or Hanukkah, for that matter. However, Gad Elmaleh’s superb Reste Un Peu (literally Stay Awhile) has the uplift, humor, and soul-searching of the best Yuletide stories, from A Christmas Carol to A Charlie Brown Christmas. The premise is simple: Gad, a famous stand-up comic (like the director) returns from a sojourn in the United States, converted to the Roman Catholic faith, and will soon finalize this with his baptism. However, he has to break the news to his very Jewish parents … his very, very Jewish parents. As you might imagine, the simple premise results in a film that is anything but simple.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by STUDIOCANAL France (@studiocanal.fr) By chance I was fortunate enough to attend a screening where Elmaleh was on hand to comment on his film and take questions from the public. He admitted that Reste Un Peu is a sort of autofiction. Not only does he, Gad Elmaleh, play a character named Gad Elmaleh, but his own parents and sister (David, Régine and Judith Elmaleh) play themselves (brilliantly and riotously). Other cast members are non-actors playing themselves, including Mehdi, a real-life friend who converted from Islam to Catholicism (after a warm-up in Protestantism), and a sensitive young priest who has a parish in Boulogne, just outside Paris.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by STUDIOCANAL France (@studiocanal.fr)
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Lead photo credit : Image: Vito Films/Studiocanal

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Dimitri Keramitas was born and raised in Connecticut, USA, and was educated at the University of Hartford, Sorbonne, and the University of London, and holds degrees in literature and law. He has lived in Paris for years, and directs a training company and translation agency. In addition, he has worked as a film critic for both print and on-line publications, including Bonjour Paris and France Today. He is a contributing editor to Movies in American History. In addition he is an award-winning writer of fiction, whose stories have been published in many literary journals. He is the director of the creative writing program at WICE, a Paris-based organization. He is also a director at the Paris Alumni Network, an organization linking together several hundred professionals, and is the editor of its newletter. The father of two children, Dimitri not only enjoys Paris living but returning to the US regularly and traveling in Europe and elsewhere.