Some battles seem survivable, others less so. And worse than crises of faith or wars between brothers, the most unshakably isolated and horrifying nightmare a person can face is the death of his child. Declaration of War is the true story of filmmakers Valérie Donzelli, Jérémie Elkaïm. The two star as Romeo and Juliet, a couple who meet, fall in love and get pregnant in quick order. Their son is a constant source of joy—until he starts manifesting symptoms doctors can't explain. When they discover he's got a tumor, the couple learn fast how to handle their family ("Remember the good stuff.") but they constantly have to confront the earthshaking possibility their kid won't make it. Instead of venturing into mournful Terms of Endearment territory, the film—and the filmmakers—commit to a relentless determination to live. The montages of exercise regimens and amusement parks and snowball fights look like the most exuberant mission to relieve dread that ever was. It's a constant revelation in what feels like a very small world. You don't have to be a parent for it to wreck you and make you glad it exists.
Distributor: Sundance Selects
Cast: Valérie Donzelli, Jérémie Elkaïm, César Desseix, Brigitte Sy, Elina Löwensohn, Michèle Moretti, Philippe Laudenbach
Director: Valérie Donzelli
Screenwriters: Valérie Donzelli, Jérémie Elkaïm
Producers: Edouard Weil
Genre: Drama; French-language, subtitled
Running time: 100 min.
Release date: January 27 ltd.