In the 80s, Aram, a young man from Marseille of Armenian origin, blows up the Turkish ambassador's car in Paris. Gilles Tessier, a young cyclist who was passing at that moment, is seriously...
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In the 80s, Aram, a young man from Marseille of Armenian origin, blows up the Turkish ambassador's car in Paris. Gilles Tessier, a young cyclist who was passing at that moment, is seriously injured. Aram, on the run, joins the Armenian Liberation Army in Beirut, the hotbed of international revolution in those years. Gilles is trying to understand when Anouch, Aram's mother, arrives in his hospital room to beg his forgiveness. She admits that her son planted the bomb. Aram clashes with his comrades in Beirut and decides to meet his victim to make him his spokesman.
The movie comprises a long prologue and a short epilogue .
Shot in black and white close to documentary ,the prologue(Berlin ,1921) depicts the assassination of Talaat Pacha ,main responsible for the Armenian genocide ;during the flashbacks ,we are told about the horrors the convict endured ,how his whole family and a whole people were butchered like lambs in a slaughter.Against all odds,he is acquitted and the audience gives him a standing ovation.
The main subject takes place in Marseille and in Beyrouth,sixty years later; a young generation rises and wants to stigmatize the genocide which the Turks have never acknowledged.A young man,Aram,joins the ASALA (Armenian liberation army) ;he blows up the Turkish ambassador's car in Paris but a young cyclist,Gilles ,is seriously injured and becomes crippled .Eaten up with remorse ,he leaves for Lebanon where he joins the forces fighting there .
Then the screenplay alternates scenes in Lebanon where the terrorist does not know where he stands anymore and his victim 's horrible fate: " I'm in my twenties ,can he give me back my legs" Gilles's character was inspired by an injured Spanish journalist who reportedly forgave the man who made him a crippled man for life. Aram's mom is eaten with remorse too,she goes to the hospital ,and she leaves him a note which reads :" ask us whatever you need" ;some French critics found it incredible and melodramatic .But Ariane Ascaride is an actress to be reckoned with:I once wrote ,about Guédigian's earlier "Les Neiges Du Kilimandjaro" ,that no living French actress could express compassion as she does ;both movies deal with forgiveness in a shaggy-dog story (that's what the title means)and miss Ascaride ,the director's partner in life ,has a face which can lighten the darkest night.Leprince-Ringuet is equally efficient as the victim who,like many French at the time ,had never heard of the Armenian genocide.
A short epilogue:ten years later, two persons who experimented both tragedy bring back Arem where he belongs .
It's not the first time Robert Guédigian has used intertwined plots: "La Ville est Tranquille "(2000) ,for instance ,could be subtitled "Sous Le Ciel De Paris" sorry Marseille".A thousand miles away from the trends ,the crazes and the feel-good atmosphere which mar much of the French scene, along Philippe Lioret,he stands alone.
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