Directed by Guillaume Nicloux
12th – 18th August 2016
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
During the August holiday period there are usually only Hollywood blockbusters and franchise products on offer, which I abhor, but I was privileged to watch two outstanding films within 24 hours.
Along with Wiener-Dog this was also a thoughtful and visually appealing experience.
Similar to that movie Valley of Love, starring two of the most impressive current French film actors, Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert – who both turned in very naturalistic performances – the overall mood was how very, very fast your life slips you by, but there was more innate humour throughout than the Todd Solondz creation.
The location was Death Valley in California amid sweltering temperatures. with the thermometer often touching 120F. Apparently Depardieu, in his way of combating loss of liquid in the searing heat, often consumed a dozen bottles of wine a day!
Huppert and Depardieu play a long-divorced couple, who arrive at the valley following a separate letter they each received from their son Michael, written shortly before he committed suicide. It asked them both to go to various locations there on each of five days at set times. On one of the occasions he would re-appear before them, as if in a vision.
One of the most memorable lines was uttered by the character played by Depardieu, called Gerard!, when he said that no matter how old we get we still stay the same. Our basic character is retained no matter what happens to us, whether they be sad times or happy memories.
The sparing use of the music of American modernist composer Charles Ives added extra pathos to the story.