Jean-Luc is an established gerontologist who can do no wrong; he runs a private clinic specialising in anti-ageing treatments. Honoured for his work in this field, he throws a garden party at his home. It is during this social event that his father suddenly reappears, back after a long exile. A physician, he had left decades earlier without any apparent reason to practice in Africa. He moves into his son's home for several days, phlegmatically observing everything with an enigmatic smile. He peruses Jean-Luc's life and environment with cruel objectivity. The arrival of this interloper father, who everyone thought had disappeared for good, shatters the family microcosm: Jean-Luc doesn't know how to take him, as if the memory - or the resentment - was nothing but lost time; his wife becomes fond of this highly unconventional man; after first refusing to deal with him, Jean-Luc's younger brother strikes up a modest bond with him. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The story of a son who is confronted by his father, and the journey of his emotional make-up is explored.
This is a film whose title i find highly significant. It creates a tension throughout all the action which i find highly integral to the significance of the piece.
The casting, however, i found cliché. The 'rich yet forlorn' wife of Jean-Luc is predictably docile looking. Beautiful she is, yes, and aristocratic in movement, also, but she is exactly what one expects. Equally, Jean-Luc's lover, who is more Mediterranean looking, with more spirit and with a more voluptuous body, is also the archetypal affair. Why, in 2001 are we still type-casting? However, I find Jean-Luc immaculately chosen, with the touch of 'froideur' in his eyes that hints at a depth in the character, and also, an 'un-depth' for it is very difficult to penetrate his often emotionless actions.
Not a film that i would say was beautifully shot...i don't find the photography breathtaking, but it is a perfect french thriller: classy, subtle and psychologically deep.
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