Tetchy, selfish, plagued by the pains of old age, retired Brit Tony (Bogarde) lives on the Côte d'Azur with his distant, taciturn French wife (Laure). He's never been very close, either, to their screenwriter daughter (Birkin), who arrives from Paris when he's suddenly taken into intensive care. A virtual three-hander, largely set in and around a small villa, Tavernier's film - about the problems of communication that often infect family life - might seem a most unappealing concoction were it not for the talent involved both before and behind the camera. With Bogarde (lent strong support by Birkin and Laure) giving one of his best performances ever, and Tavernier demonstrating his usual quietly assured professionalism, it impresses in the way it avoids all the usual pitfalls (with a welcome absence of maudlin, moralising sentiment). But what finally lifts this touching, consistently intelligent chamber piece is Tavernier's absolute control of mood, with Denis Lenoir's exquisite 'Scope compositions and stealthy camera movements illuminating every nook and cranny of the trio's troubled relationships.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Colo Tavernier O'Hagan|