The Father of My Children (12A)
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Time Out says
Tue Mar 2 2010It was the death of Humbert Balsan, the original producer of young French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve’s first film, ‘Tout Est Pardonée’, that inspired the character of Grégoire Canvel (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), a handsome and cultured Parisian film producer with a beautiful wife (Chiara Caselli), three young children, an apartment in the city and a house in the country.
The superficial order and enviable comfort of Grégoire’s home life contrasts with the chaos of his film company, Moon Films, a struggling and passionate outfit where there’s not enough money in the bank or time in the day to satisfy the interests of both the arthouse filmmakers they produce and a growing list of creditors.
There’s a sadness at the core of Hansen-Løve’s impressive and moving second film, but it feels wrong to call it a tragedy, so gentle is her humanism and so light is her touch as a storyteller, both of which recall Eric Rohmer’s non-period films. The story involves a number of surprising, emotional twists (some too important to reveal), but the 29-year-old director’s brisk and breezy style is to avoid the melodramatic and move on, while planting feelings in our minds to consider at our leisure.
It’s a method familiar from her first film, in which she moved freely between characters in one family and was interested in their secrets and the bonds between a teenage girl and her parents. Here, her insistence on giving as much attention to the filmmaking process as emotions feels awkward at points, but the essence of the film is a welcome compassion and curiosity about inner lives.
Author: Dave Calhoun