5 June 2003 | dbdumonteil
The heart is no longer a lonely hunter.
Guédiguian tackles here a subject which Marcel Pagnol treated many times some sixty years ago:the pregnant girl and the fate of the soon-to -be born baby:"Angèle" (1934) "Fanny" (1936) and "la fille du puisatier" (1942)Both Guediguian's and Pagnol's works are set in the Provence .But the times have changed.
Once, being an unmarried mother was a shame,a curse and if the girl did not find a man to save her honor,she was outlawed from society(In Pagnol 's movies).
A young girl falls in love with a black young man and gets pregnant,but the poor boy is accused of rape .The parents' attitude is diametrically opposite to that of the people of the thirties:this baby is a hope,the only hope in fact,the only thing that prevents the jailed man from complete despair.In a very moving sequence ,à la "it's a wonderful life" ,the father explains how the baby's life touches so many other lives.Life is not rosy for these modest people but their struggle is noble and endearing:Ascaride's trip to Sarajevo is the center of gravity of the movie:she displays so much love,understanding,humanity and hope against hope that the audience feels relieved when she finally pulls it off.
Much less ambitious than "la ville est tranquille" ,"à la place du coeur" shows that sometimes ,the heart is not a lonely hunter anymore.Acting is uniformly good.The only flaw is the fascist cop,the one cardboard character of the whole film.