Emile

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Time Out says

An elderly, self-absorbed academic (McKellen) returns to Victoria in Canada after years of English exile to accept an honorary degree. He stays with his niece (Unger), who seems strangely resentful, but slowly builds up a rapport with her doe-eyed daughter (Crane). The longer his stay, the more haunted he becomes by memories of his impoverished, rural childhood and of the brothers he left behind. Clearly intended as a Canadian counterpart to Wild Strawberries, writer/director Bessai's film has little of the lyricism or emotional depth of Bergman's classic. There are too many dull, domestic scenes, and the flashbacks are too arch and self-conscious. The redoubtable Unger stands out, but McKellen offers a strangely tentative performance as the old man returning to his roots. As he showed in his previous film Lola (2001), a moody, neonlit tale about a young woman adrift in the big city, Bessai clearly has an eye for a striking shot, but here the grainy, evocative imagery of the childhood scenes does little to atone for a contrived and ultimately very maudlin narrative.
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Release details

UK release:

2003

Duration:

92 mins

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