Saturday, April 21, 2012

Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro / The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaron lumet / Snön på Kilimandjaro [Swedish name in Finland] / Snön på Kilimanjaro [Swedish name in Sweden]. FR © 2011 Agat Films & Cie / France 3 Cinéma. D: Robert Guédiguian. SC: Robert Guédiguian, Jean-Louis Milesi - inspired by the poem "Les pauvres gens" (1854) by Victor Hugo from the series La Légende des siècles I-III (The Legend of the Ages) (1840-1873). DP: Pierre Milon. Digital post-production: Mikros Image. Digital intermediate supervisor: Florian Du Pasquier. PD: Michel Vandestien. Cost: Juliette Chanaud. M supervisor: Pascal Mayer. Theme song: "Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro" (comp. Pascal Danel, parolier Michel Delancray, 1966). S: Bridget O'Driscoll. ED: Bernard Sasia. Loc: Marseille. C: Ariane Ascaride (Marie-Claire), Jean-Pierre Darroussin (Michel), Gérard Meylan (Raoul), Marilyne Canto (Denise), Grégoire Leprince-Rinquet (Christophe), Anaïs Demoustier (Flo), Adrien Jolivet (Gilles), Robinson Stévenin (le commissaire), Karole Rocher (la mère de Christophe). 107 min. Released by Cinema Mondo with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Markus Karjalainen / ... A 35 mm print viewed at Maxim 2, Helsinki, 21 April 2012 (weekend of Finnish premiere).

Technical specs (IMDb): Camera: Aaton XTR Prod, Cooke S4 and Varotal Lenses. - Laboratory: Arane-Gulliver, Paris, France. - Film negative format: 16 mm (Kodak Vision3 200T 7213, Vision3 500T 7219). - Cinematographic process: Digital Intermediate (master format), Super 16 (source format). - Printed film format: 35 mm (spherical) (blow-up) (Fuji Eterna-CP 3523XD). - Aspect ratio: 1.85:1.

The title of the film is a reference to the 1966 hit song "Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro" sung together by everybody in the film in the 30th wedding anniversary party of Marie-Claire and Michel. The song was inspired by Ernest Hemingway's famous short story (1936).

The snows of Mount Kilimanjaro have been melting since 1912, and they are predicted to disappear completely between 2022-2033.

In Marseille 20 shipyard workers are fired, and Michel, a CGT trade union veteran, draws random slips of names from a box and announces himself as number 20 to be fired. The now unemployed Michel celebrates his 30th wedding anniversary with his wife Marie-Claire. From a collection from their friends they receive a substantial money gift and plane tickets to Kilimanjaro. Soon Marie-Claire, Michel, Raoul and Denise are robbed and their bank accounts are emptied via the stolen ATM cards. They also lose the plane tickets and Michel's cherished childhood memento, a Spider-Man comic book. It turns out that one of the two robbers is the young unemployed docker Christophe who was fired together with Michel. He has his two little brothers on his responsibility. Their father has disappeared, and they have been neglected for years by their mother. Michel identifies Christophe for the police but when he wants to withdraw charges it is too late. Independently of each other Marie-Claire and Michel have started to take care of Christophe's little brothers, to the dismay of their own children.

An engrossing story of the generation gap between an old generation orientated to solidarity and a young generation orientated to themselves. Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro raises questions about the social contract, its global consequences known to everybody in cases of monumental fraud in world finance. In this story we see the psychological and moral erosion on the level of young individuals.

Robert Guédiguian continues his stories about Marseille together with his trusted stock company of actors. Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro is a compelling movie of social and psychological realism. The characters are believable, and the great themes grow organically from the flow of everyday life.

Shot on photochemical 16 mm film, the movie has gone through digital post-production, but the visual quality of the 35 mm print is not particularly successful.
Victor Hugo: Les pauvres gens

“Our neighbor died last night; it must have been
When you were gone. She left two little ones,
So small, so frail—William and Madeline;
The one just lisps, the other scarcely runs.”
The man looked grave, and in the corner cast
His old fur bonnet, wet with rain and sea,
Muttered awhile, and scratched his head,—at last
“We have five children, this makes seven,” said he.
“Already in bad weather we must sleep
Sometimes without our supper. Now! Ah, well—
‘Tis not my fault. These accidents are deep;
It was the good God’s will. I cannot tell


Go fetch them, wife; they will be frightened sore,
If with the dead alone they waken thus.
That was the mother knocking at our door,
And we must take the children home to us.
“Brother and sister shall they be to ours,
And they will learn to climb my knee at even;
When He shall see these strangers in our bowers,
More fish, more food, will give the God of Heaven.
“I will work harder; I will drink no wine—
Go fetch them. Wherefore dost thou linger, dear?
Not thus were wont to move those feet of thine.”
She drew the curtain, saying, “They are here!”

Victor Hugo How good are the poor (Les Pauvres Gens)
(Translation by H.W. Alexander)

Jean Jaurès: Courage

(…) “Courage is being all together, whatever one’s work, a practitioner or a philosopher. Courage is understanding one’s own life, making it precise, improving it, giving it depth, establishing it, and yet coordinating it with life in general. Courage is watching that spinning or weaving machine so that no thread breaks, and yet preparing a social order that is broader and more brotherly, where the machine will be the common servant of all liberated workers. (…)"

"Courage, is overcoming one’s own flaws, suffering from them but not being overburdened by them, and following one’s path. Courage is loving life, looking at death with tranquility; it is reaching for an ideal and understanding what is real; it is acting, and giving oneself to great causes without knowing what reward this profound universe will reserve for our efforts, not even if any reward will be given."

"Courage is searching for truth and speaking it; it is not submitting to the law of passing lies and not allowing our souls, our mouths, or are hands to echo the idiotic applause and fanatical booing.”

- Speech to the youth, Albi, 1903.

No comments: