Films & Schedules

  • Aide-toi le ciel t'aidera
    With a Little Help From Myself

  • François Dupeyron

92 minutes

Production Company:
Michele Petin, Laurent Petin
François Dupeyron
Production Designer:
Patrick Durand
Yves Angelo
Dominique Faysse
Jerome Thiault
Principal Cast: Claude Rich, Felicite Wouassi, Mata Gabin, Elizabeth Oppong

International Sales Agent:

Saturday September 0606:00PM ISABEL BADER THEATRE Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Tuesday September 0912:45PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Thursday September 1111:45AM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 3 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

It is a tough day for the Mousse family. Rebellious and angry, seventeen-year-old Victor flirts with drugs and petty theft. His sister, Christie, is getting married that afternoon, but her deadbeat father has gambled away the money needed for the reception. Sonia, the long-suffering mother, is the glue that holds the family together, but even her patience is running thin. Struggling to get by in the anonymous high-rises that stud the outskirts of Paris, she sticks up for her troubled eldest son, reassures her soon-to-be-married daughter that everything will turn out fine, concerns herself with the future of her precocious youngest son and manages her totally irresponsible, self-centred husband.

Director François Dupeyron uses this premise to drive his engaging look at the lifestyle of a besieged family. What emerges in Aide-toi le ciel t'aidera is a work of wondrous joy and spirit. Bathing his film in the golden hue provided by Yves Angelo's radiant photography, Dupeyron weaves the narrative of a neo-realist drama without the associated air of despondency.

The indomitable Sonia also hopes to buy the laundromat where she works. She has finally saved enough money to do so, but her life is about to take a surprising turn. Although events are about to spin out of control, everything must look as if it is in perfect order on her daughter's wedding day – and Sonia is a master of making the best of any situation. Forced to rely on her wits, she asserts power and eventually moves beyond the dispirited life that seems to be her natural lot.

Aide-toi le ciel t'aidera imparts the dark comedy of life as well as the highs and lows of an underprivileged sector of society. Dupeyron is assisted by a cast who ease effortlessly into their roles. While France roils with racial tension, Dupeyron finds glimmers of hope, symbolized by Sonia's remarkable spirit and energy.

Piers Handling

François Dupeyron was born in Tartas, France, and has been writing and directing films for over thirty years. His feature films include Drôle d'endroit pour une rencontre (88), C'est quoi la vie? (99), La Chambre des officiers (01), Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran (03) and Aide-toi le ciel t'aidera (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award