Tuesday, August 30, 2005

La Bûche

1999, France, directed by Danièle Thompson

A rather slight affair, this is an unsurprisingly wordy Parisian film centered on a somewhat dysfunctional family (in particular three sisters) in the lead-in to Christmas, as they attempt to negotiate a minefield created by the need to accommodate both of their long-divorced parents at the same dinner table. The conceit of three very different sisters is rather overdone, particularly where one or more tends to be offscreen for lengthy periods since their lives rarely intersect. However, the impeccable cast does a generally good job, with Sabine Azéma outstanding. The older generation, in the form of Claude Rich and Françoise Fabian, is a delight: they have an especially good central sequence in a bar, in which they manage to cover both the events and the emotions of their tumultuous marriage; there's no hiding the delight that writer-director Danièle Thompson, a skilled wordsmith making her directorial debut here, had in writing this scene, as well as those in which her characters address the camera directly. It's tempting, in the face of such wit, to read more into the film than is really there, but, that said, there will undoubtedly be a few winces of recognition at the family oddities on display - Christmas tensions are universal, at least where the festival is celebrated, even in this Jewish Parisian household.

No comments:


List of all movies

Most of the images here are either studio publicity stills or screen captures I've made myself; if I've taken your image without giving you credit, please let me know.

About Me

Boston, Massachusetts, United States