Alda, her sister Olga, and the latter's daughter Sigga live together in an old house facing a cemetery by the sea. Self-assured Alda collects men; Olga shuns them, but cannot help following... See full summary »
A film adaptation of the novel of Francois Mauriac about a maitresse who lost her son and who becomes the object of desire for the doctor who was not able to rescue her son and at the same time for the doctor's son, which lead to a drama.
Film displaying family war zone, yet having its hilarious and even some moving moments
I saw this film as part of the Rotterdam Film festival 2012. I have some problems with this film. Though technically well made with good acting, I found the irreconcilable difference between the family members a bit far-fetched, to say the least. On one hand, we see our main character (Eve) with civil manners under all circumstances. On the other hand, the rest of her family is a collection of ego-centered individuals, yelling and insulting each other at every opportunity. You cannot help yourself hating all of them (except Eve, of course).
The overwhelming misbehavior demonstrated by this family, even on festivities intended to be spent in an agreeable mood, distracts from the main story line in my opinion. If all the rudeness and egoism demonstrated is really intentional, it fully defeats its purpose. Yet it may be intended by the film makers, just to illustrate that Eve is completely alone with her problems. Best example is when she mentions her pregnancy once towards a family member, and her statement is flatly ignored.
Eve as a lone well behaved exception is difficult to imagine, given the common family background. Within said tsunami of ego-egocentricity we find a definite oasis in the history classes that Eva teaches to children with hearing impairment. Remarkable is that these children are the only ones who observe that Eve is not well, while no one else seems concerned with her well being. These children are good observers and not easily misled.
Particularly noteworthy is a true statement by an attorney they visited while suspecting him to be the father of one of them. He sends them away while saying: "Rather thank your father, for it is really hard to raise children".
More such moments shine a bitter light on the disturbing characters that populate this movie. When you are prepared to overlook the over-exposed war zone, you can enjoy a good movie with many actors succeeding very well in their assumed role. You will hate their characters and the ways they treat other family members.
All in all, there is enough room for hilarious moments, even while the underlying causes for laughter may seem a bit suspect in hindsight. When you lookup the definition of "humor" in a dictionary, they unavoidably mention the implicit sadness hidden underneath, the proverbial laughter and tear. The film is correctly categorized as a Drama, not as a Comedy (and certainly not as a feel-good comedy).
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