a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Le pere de mes enfants

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Inspired by the real-life suicide of film producer, Humbert Balsam, Mia Hansen – Løve’s  Le Pere de mes enfants is a touching elegy to not only about loss and its effects on a family, but about cinema itself. This is the sort of film that only French filmmakers can pull off. The loving, but distracted father/film producer Grégoire Canvel (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing) with mounting financial and other unexplained troubles, midway through the film pulls the trigger, ending his life. The remainder of the film chronicles his wife Sylvia (Chiara Caselli) and three daughters dealing with sudden and devastating personal loss and his little film empire’s collapse. Wisely eschewing any search for reasons behind Grégoire’s suicide, Hansen – Løve focuses instead on the details and emotions of the family left behind. The impossibly cute young daughters Valentine (Alice Gautier) and Billie (Manelle Driss) are sensitively handled, but the trajectory of the teenage gamine Clemence (Alice de Lencquesaing)gives an increasingly emotional heart to the story behind the father of these children – which might be cinema itself.

Originally published in EL Magazine, June 2010

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