Tuesday 6 September 2016

Film: 'Things to Come'/ 'L'avenir'.

Following on shortly after the marvellous 'Julieta' here we have another superior non-English language film, and one which also features as its central character a woman of late-middle age, a mother with mature offspring.

Isabelle Huppert is a philosophy teacher in Paris in a recent time of student agitation, for which she has little sympathy. She takes annual breaks away with her husband (Andre Marcon) during which she fails to pick up on the latter's growing emotional estrangement from her. When they return to the capital, he's provoked by his daughter's facing him down about his attentions drifting elsewhere, so he decides to make a clean breast of it, telling his wife that he's decided to move in with his new affair. Though she had no inkling, she takes the news as equably as one could under the circumstances, and prepares for single life, having also to keep an eye on her aged, ailing and suicide-threatening mother, living alone with her cat.
Meanwhile she renews her acquaintance with a former, much younger, student of hers (Roman Kolinka) and accepts his invitation to visit him at a farm in the country where he's living with a handful of German friends.
You might have expected that this story would now develop into a romantic affair between the now unattached teacher and the younger man. I was very agreeably surprised that it didn't go down this predictable route.

Like 'Julieta' again, this is a modest film with no great pretensions - a human story without overblown melodrama or histrionics. It keeps everything on an even keel and yet manages to be totally absorbing. Acting and direction (from Mia Hansen-Love) are pretty well faultless.
I felt somewhat wary for the black cat which features a number of times, being moved in its carry-basket hither and thither, but can report that despite my apprehensions that it might meet a miserable fate, no harm came to it. 

'L'avenir' is another film which gave me a great deal of satisfaction, We seem to be going through a patch of good films which provide mostly gentle contentment in addition to entertaining us with quality......................7.5

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