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A story that focuses on the problematic relationship between Paul Marseul, owner of a prestigious vineyard in Saint Emilion and his son, Martin, who works with him on the family estate. Paul is a demanding and passionate wine-maker but is a domineering father. He is not happy that his son may one day succeed him. He dreams of a son who is more talented, more charismatic . . . and more in line with his own aspirations. Things deteriorate as Paul's trusted manager Francois is dying of cancer. When Francois' son Philip, also in the wine business, returns from California to look after his father, Paul sees Philip as his ideal son and turns away from his own flesh and blood. Written by
The film is a well-crafted study of two fathers and two sons. One father owns a prestigious French vineyard but cannot accept or encourage his own son, whom he actually despises, despite the young man's constant attempts to please his father. The other father, terminally ill with cancer, had been estate manager of the vineyard. When his son, who had emigrated and worked for a California winery, returns to visit his dying father, the vineyard owner is so impressed that he attempts to lure the visitor back to France with an impressive job package... including an offer to legally adopt him so that he would share in the inheritance of the vineyard. So now the lines of conflict are neatly in place. One son versus the other. The dying father versus the vineyard owner whom he believes is trying to "steal" away his son... added to the basic conflict between a demanding father and his thankless son. The characters are skillfully drawn and flawlessly acted by a marvelous cast of French players. I thought the direction and photography were superb; you will also learn a lot about the art of growing grapes and producing fine French wines.
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