On her birthday anniversary, the unhappy middle-aged celebrator, Ariane, finds herself abandoned by her family and winds up in a picturesque seaside café in sun-kissed Marseilles. Will she follow her heart to untangle her creative thread?
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... See full summary »
The scene is set one Summer in La Ciotat, a town near Marseille which used to be prosperous thanks to its huge dockyard but has been in decline since its closing 25 years before. It is in ... See full summary »
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Sixty-year-old Angèle Barberini, an actress, returns to her father's villa, situated in a beautiful creek near Marseille. She left the place twenty years before following a terrible trauma she experienced there, swearing never to come back. But now Maurice, her genitor, who has just been the victim of a stroke is persistent vegetative, with no hope of recovery and her presence is needed. Her two brothers, Joseph, an embittered retired worker, and Armand, the manager of the local restaurant, welcome her. They must look to the future and decide what measures to take concerning the villa and the restaurant. But the past, on the other hand, has its say.Written by
Footage from the film Ki Lo Sa, by the same director, is used in a flashback sequence. The footage features the same actors of the main characters, but 31 years younger, which gives the flashback a realistic feel. See more »
My only other viewing of a Guédiguian film is Une histoire de fou (A history of madness) released with the incongruous and ludicrous English title Don't tell me the boy was mad. It deals with Armenian expats in France and then those who wage war against an unforgivable past.
In La villa (The house by the sea) the director uses Ariane Ascaride again as the central character. After a twenty years absence owing to trauma Angéle returns to the villa of her ailing father. Unlike Une histoire de fou, La villa doesn't rely on a fast moving plot. There are secrets, there is suspense, there are unexpected developments, but it's gentle and 'slice of life' cinema not blockbuster.
I've noticed on reviewer giving it one star and calling it boring.
One has to live this movie. It's akin to a Chekhov play and all the characters (with the possible exception of the children) unfold softly and with immense understanding. There are shades of The Seagull, The Cherry Orchard and Uncle Vanya. Not in circumstance, but in the inner lives of the characters. Angéle can easily be a mixture of Nina, Irina Arkadina and Jeljéna. Her brothers Armand and Joseph are also reminiscent of the Russian master's works. So are the neighbours, their son (Yvan) and the smitten fisherman.
There are no emotional or real summer thunderstorms or winter blizzards. La villa contains real people with day to day needs and wants and at the same time unfulfilled dreams and passions.
The four young visitors who are only seen in two brief scenes could be a jarring note, but then again they portray those with sheer hedonistic goals as opposed to the inhabitants of the villa and their lifelong neighbours.
Yet the family is not totally cut off from the world. Political intrigue also touches their lives but in a humane and personal way.
This is slow cinema at its best with excellent script, editing, direction and acting. The lack of underscoring music is also refreshing. However: La Villa is not for those who can only think in sound bytes.
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