Old woman Berthe leaves her house to live in her daugter Emilie's one. Emilie and her brother Antoine have fallen out three years ago and have not seen each other since, but Emilie invites ...
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Old woman Berthe leaves her house to live in her daugter Emilie's one. Emilie and her brother Antoine have fallen out three years ago and have not seen each other since, but Emilie invites him for Christmas. Memories will come up, and will be depicted both Berthe's destiny and the strange relationship between Emilie and Antoine. Written by
Selected as the opening film at the 46th Cannes Film Festival in 1993. See more »
[quoting lines from a song]
Where is the friend I seek? My longing rises with the sun. Night fades, in vain I call his name. I see his traces, I know he is there. I feel him where the flowers sweeten the air. Where saplings sprout, and wheat thrives. He is the breeze that caresses me. The scent for which I long. I hear his voice blend into the summer's song.
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Interesting but somewhat cryptic family-dynamics saga presented with characteristic French warmth and some charm. Daniel Auteuil plays a brain surgeon in love with his big sister (Catherine Deneuve). Apparently he has been pining away for her for decades since they are now middle-aged. She's no longer interested in sex, and he apparently never was, since he never married and lived alone. Meanwhile mom, who loved him best, can't live alone anymore because of fainting spells, and so goes to live with Deneuve and her family. But that doesn't work out and Auteuil won't or can't take her in, and so they send her to a nursing home, which she hates. All this occasions brother and sister to spend some time together. They recall with fondness their childhood; and when she breaks up with her husband, little brother rents a nice apartment for himself and her, all the better to live happily ever after.
Well, what a tease. That really doesn't happen. After a bit Deneuve gets seduced by a very aggressive and anonymous intern which reawakens her sexuality and makes her realize she can't live with her brother. And so she leaves him. He breaks into her house in an attempt to get her back....
I think Director André Téchiné did a good job with what he attempted, but could have attempted more. The cast is good, especially Marthe Villalonga as the mother and Deneuve, who has aged well. It's amusing to see that the cool and stately actress is still being sexually abused by the French directors for the audience. I wonder what they would have done if, instead of Hitchcock, et. al., THEY could have gotten their hands on Deneuve's cinematic American soul sister, Grace Kelly. It would have been interesting to see Grace Kelly in, say, Truffaut's Mississippi Mermaid (1969) with Jean-Paul Belmondo instead of Deneuve. Or, how about Grace Kelly as "Belle de Jour"?
But I digress.
(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
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