Mia Hansen-Love (France, 1981)
Tout est Pardonne/ All is Forgiven (2008)
Le Pere de mes Enfants/ Father of My Children (2009) is a simple domestic
drama about a very complex family situation.
A businessman walks in the streets of Paris while talking on his mobile phone.
He is a film producer.
He inquires about a film being shot in Sweden.
He lives outside the city with his wife and their three girls.
He takes the highway. He drives too fast and is arrested by the police.
The wife and oneof the girls have to pick him up at the police station.
The teenager Clemence is unhappy that she has to spend the weekend with her family
in the country house.
Despite Clemence's moody attitude, it looks like a happy family.
He tells his wife that a member of the Swedish crew hanged himself.
He wants to cancel their vacation to Italy because he is too busy
but she protests that they haven't had a vacation in years.
The following day they visit a medieval chapel in the woods.
He has to take the bus to go to work.
He is told that he owes a lot of money and advised
to sell some of his catalog. THey may freeze his assets.
A friend too advises him to sell his catalog.
Gregoire and wife take the younger girls to Italy.
His wife Sylvia gets upset when Gregoire gets on the phone for urgent business, but it is indeed urgent: a financial crisis within the crisis.
His bank agent doesn't believe in the director who is making the film in Sweden.
Gregoire thinks he's a genius, but his films never made money.
And Gregoire is spending a fortune on the film.
His assistant Valerie is aware of the desperate situation.
After another failed meeting, he calls his wife
and confesses their desperate situation.
His wife takes the train to visit her family.
Later he walks out of the office, drives somewhere, picks up a pistol from the dashboard, locks the car,
walks a few steps, burns some documents, and shoots himself.
His best friend Serge picks up his wife at the train station.
Serge thinks that the Swedish film killed Gregoire but Sylvia is determined to finish it and save her husband's catalog.
Helped by Serge, Sylvia takes control of the production firm.
At a cafe the teenager daughter overhears people gossiping about an illegitimate son.
Sylvia flies to Sweden, where Russian investors are willing to pay for the completion of the film,
but with conditions that Serge does not want to accept.
Clemence starts reading letters written by her father, and finds the
correspondence with Isabelle, the mother of her father's son Moune,
her half-brother. Now she hates her father.
Her mother comes back and scolds her.
Clemence looks for this Isabelle. Isabelle recognizes her because she was at the funeral.
Moune is married and has a child. And hated the father who abandoned him.
Sylvia quickly realizes that there is no way to keep the firm alive: the debts
Clemence starts dating a young man who was about to be signed by her father,
an aspiring filmmaker.
Sylvia accepts that the family has to leave town.
A final dinner with Serge is disrupted by a power outage.
Sylvia and her three daughters visit Gr‚goire's office one last time.
Then they start driving, leaving behind their neighborhood.
Clemence cries because they don't have time to visit the cemetery.
Un Amour de Jeunesse/ Goodbye First Love (2011)
L'Avenir/ Things to Come (2016) is a psychological drama that feels
like a surgical strike, but
too many scenes are just fillers, especially the inevitable lunches/dinners
and cigarette smoking.
A family takes the ferry to visit the remote place where the write
Chateaubriand chose to be buried in solitude and peace.
The woman is scribbling a note about "the other".
Years later Nathalie is a philosophy professor at the university.
Her mother calls her in the middle of the night because she's having a panic attack.
In the morning Nathalie is confronted by students protesting against unemployment.
Then she receives the visit of her former student Fabien.
Then marketing people show her the revised look of her textbook, which seems too
commercial to her.
Her husband Heinz is also a professor of philosophy.
They have two children, Chloe and Johann, who don't live with them.
Invited to dinner, they are jealous of Fabien who is clearly their mother's favorite.
Heinz, instead, doesn't like him.
One day Chloe waits for her father in front of the university and then tells
him that she knows: he has a lover. Chloe and Johann want him to choose quickly.
Meanwhile, Nathalie has to deal with her mother's madness.
The old woman keeps
pretending to commit suicide and calling the firemen.
Nathalie is teaching a class on truth in a park when her mother calls her
saying that she turned on the gas.
After 25 years of marriage her husband decides to leave her and move in with
his lover. Nathalie is not particularly shocked, just surprised.
She then disposes of her mother in a nursing home.
Fabien tells her that he is moving out of the city to start a commune with
some anarchists in the countryside and make cheese, but also write books.
She tells Fabien that she is only going to miss the vacations at the beach
where she saw her children grow up. Her husband has a house there, where she
carefully tended to the garden, and she goes to pack her things.
The relationship with her husband remains eerily cordial.
Nathalie has to rush back to the city because her mother refuses to eat.
(We see her journey to the station and to the nursing home without hearing the
sounds, hearing only a loud German lied).
The mother is losing her memory (can't remember the name of Nathalie's husband,
and doesn't recognize the president of France on television).
Nathalie goes to a movie theater to watch Abbas Kiarostami's "Certified Copy",
a film about truth, and a man starts touching her. When she walks out, having
missed the ending, he kisses her but she repels him. The phone rings: her
mother fell and died. Nathalie decides to pay for a church funeral that is
completely fake. On the way home, while she is crying in a bus, she sees
her husband with his much younger lover.
More bad news come from the publisher: they decided that her textbook is too
old-fashioned and don't want to renew the contract.
She takes it stoichally, hardly upset. At home she finds that her husband has
raided her library and taken some of her favorite books. She packs her things,
as well as her mother's cat Pandora, and takes the train to visit Fabien's
They drive to the farm listening to Woody Guthrie. She realizes that for the
first time in her life she has absolute freedom: her mother died, her children
left, her husband abandoned her. The cat escapes. She feel estranged among the
international crowd of the commune when they eat outside and discuss
The cat comes back filthy but with a mouse in its mouth.
After witnessing the young people play in the river, Nathalie cries curled against her cat and then finds an excuse to return to the city.
Her daughter has a baby and Nathalie becomes a granma.
Nathalie visits Fabien in winter and leaves him the cat.
Fabien now has a permanent companion.
She returns home more lonely than ever, but her children join her for a
Christmas dinner without father.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
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