GenreComedy, Drama ScreenplayJaco Van Dormael WriterJaco Van Dormael LanguageFrench
Release dateMay 1996
(Cannes Film Festival)
22 May 1996 (France)
7 March 1997 (United States) CastMiou-Miou (Julie), Daniel Auteuil (Harry), Pascal Duquenne (Georges), Henri Garcin (Le directeur de la banque), Michele Maes (Nathalie), Isabelle Sadoyan (Georges' Mother) Similar moviesCafé de Flore, Brother of Sleep, The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Any Day Now, The New World, Yolk
The Eighth Day (French: Le huitième jour) is a 1996 Belgian comedy-drama film that tells the story of the friendship that develops between two men who meet by chance. Harry (Daniel Auteuil), a divorced businessman who feels alienated from his children, meets Georges (Pascal Duquenne), an institutionalised man with Down's syndrome, after Georges has escaped from his mental institution and is nearly run over by Harry. The film was selected as the Belgian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 69th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.
The film was written and directed by Jaco Van Dormael. Some scenes in the film appear as dream sequences, often employing magical realism. The music of Luis Mariano ("Mexico," and "Maman, Tu Es La Plus Belle Du Monde") is used in these scenes, with actor Laszlo Harmati playing Mariano, who died in 1970. The original music score is from Pierre Van Dormael, Jaco's brother.
Daniel Auteuil as Harry
Pascal Duquenne as Georges
Miou-Miou as Julie
Henri Garcin as The director of the bank
Isabelle Sadoyan as Georges' Mother
Michele Maes as Nathalie
Fabienne Loriaux as Fabienne
Hélène Roussel as Julie's mother
Alice van Dormael as Alice
Juliette Van Dormael as Juliette
Didier De Neck as Fabienne's husband
Sabrina Leurquin as Waitress in fast food restaurant
Laszlo Harmati as Luis Mariano
This film was nominated for the Palme d'Or award, the top prize at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. It did win the Best Actor award at the festival, which was given to both Pascal Duquenne and Daniel Auteuil. This was the first time in the festival's history that two actors had shared the award.
The film was also nominated for a César Award and a Golden Globe award.