Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Il y a longtemps que je t'aime.

Il y a longtemps que je t'aime - I've loved you so long.

Incase you haven't guessed, it is French.  And it is a typically French film, although that is not a bad thing.  On the contrary, I think some of the films coming out of France just now are excellent, and this one ranks right up there with them.  Although not quite in the same league as say La Vie en Rose or Amelie Poulain, it never claims to attempt to scale the same heights that those two did.  Instead it is a very muted, psychological, character study, explaining closely the family relationship and how it can be stretched and tested.  

Kristin Scott Thomas is outstanding in the leading role, and it is her journey which keeps us interested throughout.  Some may complain that it moves to slow, but I think any greater pace would be misleading and detract from the main focus of the film; her re-emergence into society.  Elsa Zylberstein is also brilliant as the more 'adjusted' of the two sisters.  Portraying an emotional counterpoint to the somewhat steely character of Kristin Scott Thomas.  I think it is the excellent performances of these two that give the plot life, they stir up great amounts of empathy in the viewer and make us believe in the story.

There is a notion in film theory of the complete viewer, where our attention is taken completely be the screen and no other noise, or movement enters our mind.  Never more so have I felt this than with this film, perhaps the fact that there are subtitles there means a greater concentration is required on the part of the viewer, but not once did I turn and say something to the people I was with.  I think that it is in achieving this that the real strength of this film can be observed, it is not the perfect film, but it is a very good story, well told and brilliantly acted.


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