Thursday, March 19, 2009


I have been looking forward to watch this movie staring the late Guillaume Depardieu and the best part is that the plot was a total unexpected surprise, so I have to admit that I enjoyed this Pierre Schöller movie quite a lot, as was a very interesting cinematic experience with an interesting and unusual plot.

The movie tells about Nina (Judith Chemla) a homeless, unemployed and unsatisfied with the social system that does not give her long-lasting solutions. One night she and her 5 years-old song are sent to a Versailles refuge and next day she’s put again in the street. Going back to Paris via the woods, she finds Damien (Depardieu) that lives in a shack in the middle of nowhere. They spend the night together and next morning Nina leaves before Damien wakes up… but she leaves her son, Enzo (Max Baissette de Malglaive), with Damien. What follows is the most interesting and with minimal narrative of destitute life in those woods that are so near to the beautiful and decadent luxurious Versailles palace. But most of all is a story about Damien going back to life thanks to Enzo companionship.

The story is full of contrasts that I believe are not shown only to illustrate the two farthest away extremes of France, but also to show the disenchantment that some French have with their so celebrated social system. Unlike many French movies, this story has a clear beginning and a clear end that amazingly is a happy ending as the story moves to a fable-alike end.

The story could appeal to many that want their movies to have clear stories, but then the most outstanding part of the movie is when Damien and Enzo live in the woods as the use of light travels from almost full overexposure to “sun” light to almost dark/dark nights – almost absence of light-, all done with minimal dialogue and great expressions from Depardieu and most of all from de Malglaive that for a first-time child actor has an unbelievable good and unforgettable performance.

So, it is not an easy to watch movie as more than half the movie is very art cinema which obviously makes it not for all audiences, but makes it a very interesting cinematic experience for those that enjoy art and serious cinema.

The film was in competition for the Palm D’Or at the 2008 Cannes fest and since then has been honored in many fests and awards, including nominations for Best First Work for Pierre Schöller and Best Actor for Guillaume Depardieu, who also got a Special Mention for Best Actor at the 2009 Prix Lumières. Also Schöller won the 2009 Étoiles d'Or for Best First Work, the FIPERSCI Award at the 2008 Kyiv fest and please browse the blog to find other honors.

Guillaume Depardieu died when filming the next movie after this one, so if you’re a Depardieu fan, definitively this is a must be seen film for you. The film is best suited to those that enjoy great French cinema and/or art house films.

I liked the movie a lot more than what I expected which made the long wait more that worthy.


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