- Category: Movie Reviews
- Written by Gilbert Seah
TIFF Bell Lightbox presents:
The Films of Mia Hansen-Love
At only 31 years of age French director and scriptwriter Mia Hansen-Love is one of the most exciting young talents in today’s cinema. With already 5 films (including one short) to her credit, she has made her name known in the film world.
Hansen-Love gained recognition for her 2007 film TOUT EST PARDONNE which was nominated for a Best First Film Cesar award by the French Film Academy. She followed the success with LE PERE DE MES ENFANTS which went on to win the prestigious Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard at Cannes in 2009. British Sight and Sound did a big spread on her and the film, promoting her popularity. Her latest film in 2010 UN AMOUR DE JEUNESSE was screened at last year’s TIFF demonstrating even more promise and maturity in her work. Cinematheque members get a chance to watch her latest 3 films this August. Hansen-Love herself will be present at all the screenings.
Described as a feminist director for many reasons (her main protagonist is female; her films have strong female characters and a female point of view), She demonstrates strong emotions in her films. Her films share the common characteristic of a major change in the film’s main character midway during the film. In LE PERE, the father commits suicide halfway during the film. In JEUNESSE, the girl’s lover leaves her completely for South America throwing her life into total disarray. Hansen-Love is also fond of repeatedly using a popular tune in her films, which amusingly includes Doris Day’s Que Sera Sera at the end of LE PERE.
For more information of show times, venue and ticket pricing, check the Cinematheque website at:
Reviews of her latest 3 films follow below:-
UN AMOUR DE JEUNEUSSE (France/Germany 2010) ***** Top 10
Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve
Mia Hansen-Løve proves herself a filmmaker to be reckoned with. Her immensely satisfying emotional LE PERE DES MES ENFANTS (last year) is followed by an equally heart wrenching film about the aftermath of first love. The English title is GOODBYE FIRST LOVE. Camille (Lola Creton) is totally in love with Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky), both in their teens. Sullivan surprises his parents that he is quitting school and travelling with two friends to South America in search of Utopia. When asked if the girlfriend is coming along, his answer is no. The long distance break up turns out to be too much for either of them. Camille traces his every move and treasures his letters but Sullivan eventually stops communication with the logic that this way would be better as it involves less heart break. Camille barely copes till she meets another man. She falls in love with the older man and him with her, while advancing her career as an architect t the same time. They get engaged. As in stories of this nature, Sullivan returns and Camille cannot help herself but make love with him again. Mia Hansen-Løve’s film is not about who stays with whom or who gets rejected but about emotions, feelings, maturity and growing up. The result is an extremely moving film in which the audience is entrusted with the emotions of the lead characters. The beauty of the film’s settings as in the Loire Valley also enhances the film’s beauty.
(Screening: Aug 25th Sat 5pm)
LE PERE DE MES ENFANTS (THE FATHER OF MY CHILDREN)
(France/Germany 2009) ****
Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve
If art imitates life, director Mia Hansen-Løve’s mentor also a filmmaker Humbert Balsan committed suicide just as her lead character Gregoire (Louis-Do le Lencquesaing) did in her film.
LE PERE DE MES ENFANTS (THE FATHR OF MY CHILDREN) tells the story of Grėgoire (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), a charismatic man who has it all – a
loving wife, three delightful children and a stimulating job. His vocation as a
film producer fulfills him. In fact, Grégoire devotes most of his time and energy
to his work, never stopping, except for weekends spent in the country with his
family. But now, with too many risks and too much debt, his prestigious
production company is about to fail. He contemplates suicide and finally shoots himself in the middle of the street.
With the lead character done away in the middle of the film, just as Hitchcock did away with Janet Leigh in the shower scene in PSYCHO, Hansen-Løve’s focus shifts focus on to one of Gregoire’s daughters though the subject is still the filmmaker. As the family ponders won what to do with the company and their lives (whether to stay in Paris or move to Itlay), Gregoire is still an imminent presence.
Hansen-Løve’s film is one of the most moving and charming films this year, her film pretty much reflecting the character of Gregoire. A lot of time and pauses in the film are present for the audience to contemplate Gregoire’s deed and to consider the raison d’etre of his doing so. The scenes with his happy family in the country are contrasted with his busy film schedule ladled with insurmountable debts.
Hansen-Løve’s film is never rushed. If there is any message in the film, it may be more than what appears at the ending with the rendering of the old favorite tune “Que Sera Sear “ (Whatever will be, will be…). If there is one film that evokes emotions with such understatement about life, love, family and work, LE PERE DE MES ENFANTS is the one film that should be seen!
(Screening: Aug 24, Fri 615 pm)
TOUT EST PARDONNE (France/Denmark 2007) ***
Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve
Mia Hansen-Løve’s first film is her roughest work but it shows the promise that manifested her talent in her two later works LE PERE DES MES ENFANTS and L’AMOUR DES JEUNEUSSE. The themes are similar. All hr films deal with lost love that appears after a period of absence, in this case after 11 years.
Pamela (Victoire Rousseau) and her mere, Annette (Marie-Christine Friedrich) leave her father owing to a fall out of love. Mother and daughter now live comfortably, stable with another family. Suddenly Victor, the father (Paul Blain) requests a meeting with his daughter. Pamela relents, much to the chagrin of her mother. What transpires then is a moving account of great emotional upheaval, but one that is necessary for both Pamela and Victor. Director Hansen-Løve captures the human emotions realistically, capturing both the joy and sorrow of family. The film is also about human weaknesses and how one copes the best they can given human failings. The only complaint is her overuse of a Gallic song in her soundtrack that gets a bit annoying after too many repetitions.
(Screening Aug 23 Thursday at 630 pm)