Something unusual happened at the Cannes premiere of “The Best Years of a Life
,” Claude Lelouch
’s syrupy second sequel to his trend-setting 1966 global smash “A Man and a Woman
.” Not the endless, roaring standing ovation that happened when the lights came up: That’s expected, even required, of the tuxed-up crowd at Grand Théâtre Lumière, for films far better and worse than this light fondant fancy. No, it came just after, as the applause eventually faded out and the vast audience harmonized in collective gibberish sing-song: Chaba-daba-da-daba-daba-da, da-da-da chaba-daba-da… — over and over, until beachside revelers some distance away could probably hear this mass karaoke spin on Francis Lai
’s original 1966 love theme drifting on the breeze.
It was a sweet, decidedly uncool moment that emphasized what Lelouch’s sweet, decidedly uncool film really is: not so much a freestanding feature as an unadulterated nostalgia trip, its modest effect dependent