One night of the eighteenth century, in the depths of the mountain, a human being is lost and finds a small temple. In the moment when he enters the room space is transformed into a completely different world.
When Charles has an incurable disease, he is hit by a sudden resurgence of affection and decides to track down his sister in the west of France. But life can be full of surprises and one good thing often leads to another...
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Based on a true story,although the director warns us that there is a lot of fiction included in his story.
Jérémie Rénier is,along Guillaume Canet ,one of the rare actors of his generation that can be called a character actor;from the youngster who experimented a nightmare à la "Hansel and Gretel" (Les Amants Criminels" ) to his stunning portrayal of Claude François (in a so-so movie);in "possessions,he portrays a crude working man ,confronted to the world of the privileged classes life :their owners are very kind ,too kind and too human ;it's just a mask;under the pretext of providing them with a accommodation ,they use them as pawns :all the places are " temporary" .
The young mechanic first enjoys luxury but his behavior (in the hotel ,it's revealing)sharply contrasts with that of the "true" guests ;andd although he is a simple vulgar proletarian,he can feel humiliation and condescension :when Gladys gives them used clothes and her children's old toys ,the wife grumbles :"is this Emmaüs?"( well -known charity organization founded in 1949 by Abbé Pierre which provides help for homeless people);and when the Italian tourist ,coming back to his country,wants to give them the food he cannot take with him,Bruno,mad with rage ,throws the stuff in the garbage can -"are we supposed to eat the wop's left -over grub?"
The first hour is almost faultless;things begin to degenerate a bit in the last third in which the director botched his job;the parts of the black owner and of his wife (Alexandra Lamy ,the unforgettable Dujardin's co-star in the memorable "Un Garçon ,Une Fille"TV series) are too underwritten and the action too hurried .
But ,in spite of these limitations and of Julie Depardieu's somewhat monotonous portrayal,it is not to be missed ;with such a subject,Claude Chabrol (the influence of whom can be felt here there and everywhere)would have made one of his best achievements.
Like this ? try these.......
"La Cérémonie" ,Claude Chabrol ,1995
"Plein Soleil" René Clément ,1959
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