Saturday, December 25, 2010

L'Âge de raison

Kirjeitä lapsuudestani / [Brev från min barndom] [The Age of Reason / Letters from My Childhood]. FR/BG © 2010 Nord-Ouest Productions / France 2 Cinéma / Rhône-Alpes Cinéma / Mars Distribution / Artémis Productions / Radio Télévision Belge Francophone. EX: Ève Machuel, Stephane Quinet. P: Christophe Rossignon. D+SC: Yann Samuell. DP: Antoine Roch - 2,35:1. Digital visual effects: Macguff. Visual effects supervisor: Martial Vallanchon. Makeup: Sylvie Greco. M: Cyrille Aufort. Main theme: W.A. Mozart: Clarinet concerto in A major K. 622. S: Thomas Desjonquères. ED: Andrea Sedlácková. Title designer: Laurent Brett. LOC: Lyon, Saoû. CAST: Sophie Marceau (Marguerite vel Margaret Flore), Marton Csokas (Malcolm), Michel Duchaussoy (Maître Mérignac, a notary), Jonathan Zaccaï (Philibert Bakary), Emmanuelle Grönvold (De Lorca), Juliette Chappey (Marguerite Flore enfant), Thierry Hancisse (Mathieu), Roméo Lebeaut (Philibert Bakary enfant), Jarod Legrand (Mathieu enfant), Alexis Michalik (l'assistant de Margaret), Raphaël Devedjian (Simon), Déborah Marique (la maman de Marguerite), Emmanuel LeMire (le papa de Marguerite), Christophe Rossignon (Huissier), Mireille Séguret (Madame Vermier), Bernard Gerland (vieux monsieur). Original French release 97 min. Finnish release 92 min. Released in Finland by Future Film with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Janne Kauppila / Heidi Nyblom. 35 mm print viewed at Kinopalatsi 8, Helsinki, 25 Dec 2010

Official presentation: Tagline: "Que deviennent nos rêves d'enfant?"
Genre: Comédie Romantique.
Synopsis: "Chère moi-même, aujourd'hui j'ai 7 ans et je t'écris cette lettre pour t'aider à te souvenir des promesses que je fais à l'âge de raison et aussi te rappeler ce que je veux devenir..." Ainsi commence la lettre que Margaret, femme d’affaires accomplie, reçoit le jour de ses 40 ans.

A successful 40-year old businesswoman receives letters from herself written at the age of 7 and gets to reconsider her life. In her childhood the family had fallen on hard times, and she had sworn to make a lot of money. In this she has succeeded. Now she visits her estranged brother and her childhood sweetheart.

Some critics have called this film naive, and it does deal with childhood dreams that are naive. But Yann Samuell does not serve us naive solutions. The meeting of the brother and the sister is psychologically convincing. The most impressive sequence is the meeting of the childhood lovers in the prehistorical Angel Cave. The symbolism is beautiful. Yann Samuell sees the charm in getting in touch with one's childhood dreams, but he sees them also as "our prehistoric heritage", as life must go on.

I admire Yann Samuell for his playful approach and I don't mind that in the beginning the execution of his difficult concept is slightly awkward. The performances and the timing are not quite perfect to begin with, but the film gets better, and Marceau develops a more assured grip in her complex role.

The digital intermediate look (companies mentioned in the final credits included Macguff, Duboicolor, LTC, and Scanlab) is occasionally obvious.

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