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In France, before WWI. As every Sunday, an old painter living in the country is visited by his son Gonzague, coming with his wife and his three children. Then his daugther Irene arrives. She is always in a hurry, she lives alone and does not come so often... An intimist chronicle in which what is not shown, what is guessed, is more important than how it looks, dealing with what each character expects of life. Written by
A sun drenched stroll through the French countryside
Bernard Tavernier manages to turn the very simple plot of a son and a daughter visiting their aging painter-father in the countryside into a series of poetic reflections on life and art, youth and old age, the city and the country, potential and (partial) fulfilment. With the help of absolutely wonderful shots in pastel colours (achieved by means of skipping the 'bleaching' phase in the processing of the film) and very unobtrusive commentary Tavernier takes his viewers on a one day tour of the musings of a 70 year old impressionist painter who is looking back on his life and work. Many of the shots will remind an attentive audience of the paintings by Monet, Renoir and others, even if Tavernier argues they were largely inspired by the first colour pictures of the Lumière brothers.
The US release of this magnificent film has English subtitles. Even though one cannot blame the subtitlers for concentrating on essentials they have in my opinion needlessly erred on the side of sparsity.
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