peter A cross

ramblings from a troubled mind

Posts Tagged ‘Citizen Kaine

hmmm just a petite francaise s’il vous plaît

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Not every film should be a ‘Citizen Kane’ or an ‘Inception’, sometimes it’s a real pleasure to go to the movies and just let a film wash over you like a gentle brook in the late summer of the French country side. I know it’s too much but these are the kind of feelings that bubble to the surface when you see ‘My Afternoons with Margueritte’. No CGI, no spectacular sets, no scintillating drawing-room wit just good honest story telling from beginning to end. Director Jean Becker has created one of those movies that you know, almost from the opening scenes, how it’s going to end without ever being disappointed by the road it takes. The plot is simple, and I use the word simple in its most innocent sense, and it is a delight. To use the phrase that sends shudders of terror up your fellow scribe’s spines… it’s heart warming.

Germain (Gerard Depardieu) plays a mostly illiterate man in his fifties who has clearly had one too many baguettes; he meets Margueritte (Giselle Casadesus) an older and much lighter, brighter woman in the local park. She is air to his mountain. They strike up a friendship, as you do, and she begins to expand his mind as she reads aloud to him extracts from her favourite novels. Giselle, of course is beginning to lose her eyesight and as their friendship grows Germain takes over as her reader. Once thought of as the village buffoon Germain slowly begins to change as new worlds open for him and then, through him, for the others in the village.

It’s that simple, a love story without the complications of sex; a flirtatious tale of mutual respect.

Depardieu fits nicely in the role of overweight gentle giant with a boyish charm and Casadesus is an absolute joy to watch, under playing each scene brilliantly yet still acting the pants off her much younger fellow cast members.

Both Depardieu and Casadesus have worked with director Becker before so there is already a thread that links these three together and creates a bond that gives them the freedom to trust each other. And although Casadesus is ninety-five there is an incredible vibrancy and youthfulness in her performance.

All the supporting cast are strong but special mention should be made of Claire Maurier who plays Depardieu’s la mère’ and has a ball as the much maligned and slightly mad parental foil of this hulk of a man.

I know I’m going on about it a bit now but I really liked the gentleness, the soft touches and heart of the movie. I feel as if I should write so much more about it but it would just be padding.

If you want a pleasant afternoon or evening where you won’t be challenged but you will be offered the chance to just enjoy a movie again then this is for you. If you want ‘The Reader’ you’ll still go home smiling… in spite of yourself.

‘My Afternoons with Margueritte’ opens in limited release, from April 7 2011.


Written by peteracross

April 5, 2011 at 16:41