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A Real Life

Original Title: Au Voleur

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Isabelle (Florence Loiret Caille) is a teacher. Bruno (Guillaume Depardieu) is a thief. Together, they start believing they could find happiness. The day the police tightens the noose round him, Bruno runs away, taking Isabelle along with him. In the heart of the forest, they hide and love each other, timelessly, in an ultimate attempt to keep the violence of the world away.

Technical Information

2009; France; Drama, Romance; 96 minutes; 35mm, HDCAM-SR; 1:1.85; Dolby SRD; Original Language: French; Subtitles: English


Sarah Leonor


Sarah Leonor, Emanuelle Jacob


Laurent Desmet


Francois Quiqueré


Les Films Hatari, Studio Orlando


Michel Klein, Laetitia Fèvre


Brigitte Brassart


Marie Cesari


Sylvy Ferrus


Guillaume Depardieu


Florence Loiret Caille


Jaques Nolot


Benjamin Wangermée


Rabah Nait Oufella


Fejria Deliba


Bruno Clairefond


Tony Lemaitre


Frédéric Jessua


Born in 1970 in Strasbourg, Sarah Leonor grew up in Mulhouse, where as an adolescent she took up photography and discovered cinema as an open window to the world. Back in Strasbourg, she studied art history and Russian for two years and then started working with the film magazine Limelight. With a friend who was studying cinematography at the Ecole Louis Lumière she co-directed a first short documentary, Napoli 90’ (1994). After Les limbes (1997), she made L’arpenteur (2001) in collaboration with Michel Klein, a medium-length film that won the Jean Vigo Prize the following year and that recounts the first trip to Armenia made by Avédis, a young Frenchman of Armenian origin employed to draw up plans for a road that will link two villages in the south of the country. A Real Life (aka Au Voleur) is her first feature film.

Selective Filmography

Feature Film

2003 Le lac et la rivière


2001 L’arpenteur



Dec 01 – Feb 28




Best Film

Jul 29


Jul 13 – 22 (in competition)


Apr 12 – 29 (in competition)



Dec 08 – 15


Lubljana –


Audience Award & Kingfisher Award

Nov 21


Nov 10 – 21 (in competition)


Oct 28 – Nov 03


Oct 15 – 24


Sep 15 – 26 (in competition)


Sep 01 – 07


Jul 12 – 21


Jun 23 – 30 (in competition)


Jun 16 – 27



Fipresci Award & Special Mention

May 02


Apr 22 – May 02 (in competition)


Apr 15 – 24


Apr 14 – 18 (in competition)


Mar 05 – 14 (in competition)



Nov 19 – 28 (in competition)


Nov 05 – 15 (in competition)


Oct 29 – Nov 04 (in competition)


Oct 25 – Nov 06


Aug 23 – Nov 05


Aug 05 – 15 (in competition)


A criminal and a teacher hook up in town and hightail it to the forest in “A Real Life,” a well-made but ho-hum tale featuring a couple of losers it’s just impossible to care about. Debut feature by Sarah Leonor (credited as Sarah Petit on her shorts) wants to be “They Live by Night” crossed with “Old Joy,” but the narrative merely moves from ill-considered to aimless. Interest will depend on the curiosity factor of Guillaume Depardieu in his last film, though the projected late September French release is unlikely to make real dough.

Substitute teacher Isabelle (Florence Loiret Caille) meets bold thief Bruno (Depardieu) when she’s hit by a car and he steals her watch while pretending to help. The intense woman is smitten with the rebel, and when the cops track her down while investigating a hot auto, the couple escape to the forest, where they connect to something primal. That’s the idea, but Leonor’s attempt to romanticize this antiheroic duo falls flat. Visuals at least are solid, carefully calibrated with blue backgrounds for Bruno in the city, then switching to nature’s warmer green canopy.

Le Figaro

A deeply moving couple.


…certainly the best actress of her generation (for Florence Loiret Caille)

…this first feature, the last but one for Guillaume Depardieu, offers him a beautiful close call.


The style of the director really becomes obvious during the fascinating breakaway of the two lovers into the wild. A new space-time opens up. Landscapes and musics create an American France, and we feel like in Badlands, the sublime film from Terence Malick, without the violence, but more lucid. This beautiful bracket captivates without the need of any rebounding: just by its softness, its sweet savagery, the concern and the unexpected joy of the runaways.

Jeune Cinéma

And when the couple, tracked by the police, escapes in a boat and goes along a river, the film is turned and reaches the other side of the mirror. The violence makes way to a lyric promenade, and the boat going under the branches on the music of I’m a Poor Wayfaring Stranger, in its original a capella version, is a magnificent suspended moment. This long drift, 40 minutes aquatic where almost nothing arises, is touched by the grace: Guillaume Depardieu, grand as an animal sough after, and Florence Loiret-Caille, all in umpredictable bounds (the long travelling that accompanies her walk on the river is splendid), find back the innocence of the mythic hounded couples, such as They Live By Night or Thieves Like Us.

Les Inrockuptibles

It starts in a suburb and it ends at the Grimm’s Brothers: served by two exceptionnal actors, a first feature both naturalist and poetic.


An extraordinary initiatic and poetic journey, that reminds of The Night of the Hunter, of Charles Laughton, and Josef Von Sternberg.

La Quinzaine Littéraire

Florence Loiret-Caille, the actress of the year (…) The film peaks in his ending a lyricism that has hardly ever been reached in a French movie.



E se fosse lui, Guillaume Depardieu, a vincere il Pardo come miglior attore? Lo meriterebbe sicuramente per la sua straordinaria interpretazione in Au voler (Al ladro) di Sarah Leonor, in concorso, che ha sconvolto il Festival di Locarno, proprio per la presenza del giovane Depardieu, un fantasma, ormai, visto il suo decesso. Certo e che Guillaume, figlio del grande Gerard ha nel sangue il valore d’attore che qui nobilita con un ruolo che non si addice alla sua chiara inabilita. Ha solo una gamba, l’altra l’ha persa in un incidente, ma recita comunque per superare limiti della vita. Lo scopriamo rubare l’orologio di una giovane insegnante appena investita sulle strisce. Lo ritroviamo innamorato, ricambiato, prima a rubare un’auto, poi in fuga con la stessa donna. La sua sfida alla disgrazia della vita la condivide con il suo personaggio; su piani diversi i due si sentono perdenti, pieni di contraddizioni, amano e odiano la vita. E quando alla fine di una fuga lunga un film il personaggio muore, sorridendo, e da lacrime il sapere che con la recita finisce una vita. Film del non detto, questo Au voler lascia ai luoghi, la citta, la periferia, il fiume e la campagna, il compito di guidare le emozioni con malinconica energia. Con Guillaume Depardieu c’e una bravissima e tenera Florence Loiret Caille. Di buon livello la fotografia di Laurent Desmet.


After spending her youth in Indonesia, Florence Loiret came back to France to study comedy. She was discovered in Claire Denis’ Trouble Every Day in 2001, and has then worked with numerous directors like Erick Zonca, Benoît Jacquot, Michael Haneke, Xavier Giannoli, Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu, Agnès Jaoui and, more recently, Zabou Breitman in Someone I Loved, for which she was nominated as best upcoming actress at the Cesar Academy. She also is the faithful accomplice of Jérôme Bonnell, for whom she played a young girl in mourning in Olga’s Chignon, a prostitute in Waiting for Someone and Malik Zidi’s borderline sister in The Queen of Clubs.

Selective Filmography

Feature Film

2013 Les salauds

2012 Il était une foi

2012 Queen of Montreuil

2011 Rituels meurtriers

2011 Trouble Every Day

2010La petite chambre


2013 Les filles de la Côte d’Azur

1997 Seule

Revealed in 1992 in Alain Corneau’s All the Mornings of the World, for which he learned to play the viola da gamba, Guillaume Depardieu’s talent was confirmed in Pierre Salvadori’s comedy, The Apprentices, in an amusing scene in which he skies down a staircase. Parallel to these comedies in which he was so brilliant, he was Josée Dayan’s favourite actor in several of her TV productions (The Count of Monte Cristo in 1998, Castle in Sweden in 2008). 

He also played a tormented hero for Leos Carax and, more recently, a crazily in love army general for Jacques Rivette, a lost soldier for Serge Bozon and a homeless person in Pierre Schoeller’s first feature. 

He was never better than in the extreme roles of marginal characters, played with a subtle panache, echoing his own personal borderline lifestyle.

Selective Filmography

Feature Film

2009 Au voleur

2008 Les inséparables

2008 De la guerre

2008 Versailles

2007 Peur(s) du noir

1999 Pola X

1995 Les apprentis

1991 Tous les matins du monde