At first glance it would be easy to dismiss this film as yet another uplifting tale about the simple pleasures of ever lingering summers in the French countryside but this is not "A Good Year" or "The Grocer's Son" but a far more poignant tale about the changing nature of the family in a world which stretches from the far from the outskirts of a village to the furthest corners of the world. Juliette Binoche is as charming and as beautiful as ever but it is Charles Berling performance as the elder brother trying to desperately cling to the last fragments of a previous of way of living, to the shadows of the past, to familial heritage which truly makes this film what it is.
It is very underrated film and easy to overlook but it does brilliantly in capturing the cycles of endings and new beginnings, a gentle masterpiece about the changing nature of the family.
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Possessions and memories are the foundations of director Olivier Assayas's tender study of the aftermath of a family death. Three siblings, who all lead divergent lives, are brought together by the 75th birthday of their mother, Helene (Edith Scob), at her house in the country. Jeremie (Jeremie Renier), a dynamic businessman working in China, has flown in with his wife, while rebellious Adrienne (Juliet Binoche) has travelled from New York with her boyfriend James (Kyle Eastwood). Frederic (Charles Berling), an economist and university professor in Paris, and the only one to visit regularly, brings his wife Lisa (Dominique Reymond). With all her children present, Helene, whose health is failing, asks them to decide on a plan for the valuable art collection she inherited from her brother. As they try to decide the fate of the paintings, the richness of their childhood memories and their family life together cause them to take stock of their lives.
Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. The divergent paths of three adult siblings collide when their mother, heiress to her uncle's exceptional 19th century art collections, dies suddenly. Left to come to terms with themselves and their differences, Adrienne, a successful New York designer, Frederic, an economist and university professor in Paris, and Jeremie, a dynamic businessman in China, confront the end of childhood, their shared memories, background and unique visions of the future. Actors Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, Jérémie Renier, Edith Scob, Dominique Reymond, Valérie Bonneton, Isabelle Sadoyan, Kyle Eastwood, Alice de Lencquesaing, Emile Berling, Jean-Baptiste Malartre & Gilles Arbona Director Olivier Assayas Certificate 12 years and over Year 2008 Screen 16:9 Anamorphic Languages French - Dolby Digital (5.1) Subtitles English Duration 1 hour and 39 minutes (approx)