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I recently saw this film as part of a retrospective showing of Maurice Pialat films during a film festival. I also saw Gueule ouverte, La (Mouth Apage)a Pialat film from 1974 (he was 49). By contrast Le Garcu was Pialat's last film (age 70) and considering the autobiographical tone, it doesn't seem much of a progression.
Regardless of whether one thinks it is an autobiographical film there are moments when the camera really does disappear and other times when you hope for the director to yell Cut! Depardieu as the father character seems at times, bemused, confused, very selfish and plain unlikeable as he tries to connect with his son who by contrast is oblivious and completely in the present as 4 year olds often are.
Found myself wondering if young Antoine Pialat (The directors actual son) is in some kind of home movie extension where the rest of the plot was added later to justify the budget.
Géraldine Pailhas as the mother of Antoine and second? wife of Gerard (also his characters name) seems to be somewhat reconciled to the disconnections and missed opportunities in her son's life. This happens in the final scene where she watches son and father characters play out separated by glass but somehow linked.
Perhaps the film is about those times we can see, but don't really understand what is going on in the people closest to us? The movie is strangely compelling and some weeks later various scenes still linger as a mark of its moments of greatness. At other times though, you just want to turn away and not look.
There is a remarkable scene in a hotel where the extended family group is watching some French (women - mostly) dance and commenting. The camera seems to be compelled to zoom in on the others as if the characters in our film are just not that interesting. However it is just that widescan vision that makea the film worth a look.
I've since heard that a Pialat specialty is the reaction shot, however I'm still not quite sure I liked the film despite such moments.
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