Declaration of War

Institute History

  • 2012 Sundance Film Festival


The opening night film of the 2011 Cannes International Critics’ Week and France’s official 2011 Academy Award entry, Declaration of War is, above all, a love story.

After meeting at a party, Romeo and Juliette (they can’t believe it, either) fall in love, move in together, and have a child, Adam. The young couple, wearily navigating early parenthood, begin to suspect that Adam has a medical problem, a fear that’s confirmed when doctors discover a brain tumor. Gathering family and friends, they declare war on his illness, and their storybook romance plunges into an unrelenting world of hospitals, exhaustion, and uncertainty.

More heart than heartbreak, Valérie Donzelli’s second feature transforms the “disease drama” into an exuberant, fiercely original experience. With multiple narrators, cinematic flair, free-spirited editing, and eclectic music, Donzelli’s energetic style invokes La Nouvelle Vague but is also purely expressive—of laughter and tears, hope and fear, joy and anger. Written by Donzelli and Jérémie Elkaïm (based on their real-life experience), Declaration of War is a beautiful portrait of love and survival.

— John Nein

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]