Love between different races is one thing, and then there’s marriage. Guess which is more complicated.
“Serial (Bad) Weddings,” a 2014 French film released originally as “Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu?,” wrestles with this exact issue. The film was a sleeper hit in its home country, reportedly watched by one in five people in France. Now it has finally reached our shores, at the same time as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration is refusing to open the nation’s doors to refugees another couple of centimeters.
The film’s director, Philippe de Chauveron, describes France as being “schizophrenic” in the way it deals with its multiracial population.
“On the one hand, there are the ultra-rightists who want to crack down on foreigners and refugees,” he says, “and then there are the liberals who are all for opening the gates.”
Intriguingly, France has the highest rate of mixed marriages in the EU — close to 20 percent of married couples are of differing nationalities. For the rest of Europe that number is a paltry 3 percent on average.
In Japan, the number of mixed marriages rose from 4,156 in 1965 to more than 45,000 in 2006, but has since decreased. In 2013, 21,488 married couples were mixed (out of 660,594), according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
De Chauveron says that the French are perhaps “more willing to experiment and try out things. Also, we are more likely to tire of relationships that go too smoothly. We thrive on arguments and passionate discussions and we love poking fun at each other’s racial foibles.”
If only the Japanese could be as light-hearted.