Branches of the Tree
Time Out saysA sombre family drama occasioned by the heart attack of a venerable businessman and philanthropist, who lives with his senile father and mentally disturbed son, but derives hope and a measure of satisfaction from his other three sons, successful men instilled with his principles of hard work and integrity. The family dutifully gathers at his bedside and awaits some sign of recovery; but old resentments cloud the air as first one son, then another, admit that their father's values are no longer tenable in a modern society where corruption distinguishes winners from losers. Ray stressed that the scenario for this, his second film since his serious coronary problems, was written 25 years ago and should not be taken as autobiographical. For all that, it is evidently an old man's film. With a single principal setting, and long passages of unwieldy exposition or earnest sermonising, the script might have been intended for the stage; and although it reclaims some of the ground lost in An Enemy of the People, Ray's functional, inelegant mise en scène provides little embellishment.