A festive outdoor wedding replete with a raucous medical-oriented fashion show (picture chic nurses waving giant syringes and doctors stylishly flaunting their white lab coats) is just one of the joyous events arranged by the wonderful, charismatic group living at a hospice for terminally ill cancer patients. Dmitri (Jacques Dutronc) is the newest arrival, a man in his late forties who looks far too young to die. With his hair coiffed into a shaggy rock-star look, and his gleaming azure eyes sparkling, it is hard to believe that Dmitri is counting down his last days of life. When he meets Suzanne (Caroline Bottaro), a gorgeous blond volunteer nurse, he feels one last pang for life and love, and with careful understanding she reciprocates. The setting of the hospice is a remarkably pleasant wooded area with rambling walking paths outside. Inside, there are comfortable rooms with big sunny windows and an expert chef--who is also dying--serving delightful meals. Children visit often, and music and singing and deep conversation abound. All in all, the hospice is a lovely place to die. Miraculous joviality and hope contrasts with deep sadness and inevitable defeat, and makes C'EST LA VIE a touching, though difficult, treasure.Directed by Jean-Pierre Ameris, C'EST LA VIE is an extremely sad film that gently coaxes and prods its viewers to try to understand, try to relate, and try to cope with death. Clear, affectionate cinematography and a moving score help to communicate this message. The film is based on the novel by Marie de Hennezel, LA MORT INTIME: CEUX QUI VONT MOURIR NOUS APPRENNENT A VIVRE.This film screened in New York City in April 2002 as part of the Avignon/New York Film Festival organized by the French Institute Alliance Francaise.