Last week, I went to see a beautiful French movie called Demain tout commence (Two Are Family) directed by Hugo Gélin with the great Omar Sy in the lead. It was on a day, when I felt stuck and uninspired. I was also a little nervous about returning to the cinema, where I have spent six wonderful editions of the festival I used to work for. This was my first visit since leaving the job. A job which will forever be connected with so many memories and even – believe it or not – life changing encounters. As the whole team, which I was part of, has left when the 2016 edition has wrapped, a team which has become a family, we have all been dealing with many emotions ever since. We all knew it’s the right choice, but nevertheless, it was the end of an era. An era which we felt was probably the time of our lives.

Yet, this happened almost a year ago, and I was eager to finally move on and start over. I took a couple of other jobs following the festival retirement, yet they did not turn out to be exactly fulfilling.

So, walking into the cinema felt like it might not have been such a good idea. But the film was not being screened anywhere else and I really wanted to see it. However, what happened was quite remarkable..

Demain tout commence is a beautiful, heartfelt movie about a man who out of the blue finds himself with a baby girl who, as her mother claims, is his daughter. The mother then disappears as quickly as she appeared, leaving stunned Samuel without a clue what to do with that baby in his arms that keeps crying. What follows is a story of a transformation of a man who needs to change within a day from a totally irresponsible guy into a responsible and loving father. He ends up raising his daughter on his own in a country he doesn’t even speak the language. His way of upbringing might be a little unconventional, but it surely is a lot of fun. The story is beautiful, heart warming and funny and Omar Sy is once again excellent (is there any role he can’t play?). Of course the mother will eventually re-appear in their lives which is when it all gets complicated. But the overall message of the film, which resonated with me so much, was what I considered the biggest quality of the film.

As Samuel says at the end of the movie, standing on a rock where he once stood with his father trying to find courage to jump into the sea, his dad was trying to teach him to face fear, but it was his daughter who tought him to face life. So much wisdom in that realization! It’s way too often that we’re forgetting to live our lives because in fact we’re afraid to face them. Because to face life actually takes a lot of courage. To truly live, with all of life’s obstacles and challenges. But damn, it’s so worth it if we find it in us! After all, we only live once. And no matter what happens, no matter how bad things might get, we should never give upon ourselves and therefore our lives. It’s all we have and we need to give our absolute best at every given moment.

With this mighty wisdom in my mind, I went out of the screening room walking around the cinema for a bit and looking around. So much has happened within these walls over the years. I could probably tell you some crazy story about every spot you’d point to. And they’d be great stories! If you ever worked for any film festival, I am sure you have an idea 😉 But this was the the first time it did not make me feel sad that it’s over. It made me happy. It made me feel grateful. It made me feel lucky for the chance I’ve been given – a chance some people may never get. ‘Cause these years have been so damn good! So good, that most people might perhaps not have as much fun in their entire lives. But we had. And it was these years and all of those encounters, that made me feel alive for the very first time in my life. And I intend to carry on feeling alive – with or without the festival.

I went out of the cinema finally feeling free. One chapter closed, another just about to begin. What it’s gonna be like, I have no idea. But I am ready to face it because Demain tout commence (tomorrow, everything starts).

And with that on my mind, I could have not thought of a better way to walk into my 29.