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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
How I Killed My Father (aka My Father and I) is a story about parental abandonment and filial rage, told in a very calm way. The characters hardly ever break a sweat as they deal with irresponsible fathers, feckless siblings, childlessness and the other griefs of life. The locale is, after all, Versailles, and the emotional temperature never gets above zero in those manicured gardens.
Jean-Luc invents a family for himself to replace the one he lost at the age of ten. He becomes a father substitute for his brother Patrick--imagine having your brother as chauffeur and gofer. He presides over this clinic for rich middle-aged people trying to regain their youth, much like a father and his children. If his wife is tiring of being an ornament, he can handle her moods: after all, he's got her believing she can't have kids. The mistress at the clinic can be kept happy by the promise of an apartment. The only thing he can't allow is to be abandoned by any of them.
The conflict with his father is the occasion for many droll exchanges between Charles Berling and Michel Bouquet. Jacques Fieschi, the co-author of this script, also wrote Un coeur en hiver, Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud and Sade, some of my favorite studies of bleak hearts in comfortable surroundings.
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