27 November 2005 | Chris Knipp
Cold , stingy depiction of the musical life
A film about young musicians and a parent who oppresses them. Things relax at the end, but despite the director and children being real musicians, the style is so austere as to be hollow. It's just a very cold and unappealing film. At the end, the father bends a little. He smiles once or twice. The interiors are big and cold. Everything has a grayness about it. Remember Claude Sautet's wonderful, cumulatively powerful "Un coeur en hiver?" Of course you do. Everybody does, if you follow French films. Despite the coldness of the Auteuil character's heart in "Un coeur," there is a warmth about the film visuals and sound. Here, it's all cold. The screenplay/director don't want to show us anything. Not very winning. You have to be a bit masochistic to like this film. With Richard Berry as the severe parent, Malik Zidi as a boyfriend, and Mathieu Amalric as in "Rois et reine"/"Kings and Queen" (Dupleschin) but in a less important role, kooky but simpatico.
The main cast is Berry and two newcomers, a boy of 11 Frédéric Roullier and a girl of 20 Elodie Peudepièce who were cast because they are actual talented classical musicians. Zidi and Amalric and Maurice Garrel have secondary parts. I found Berry just too unappealing and inexpressive. The kids too are inexpressive, though Peudepièce has several touching moments. Rarely has a film about music seemed so stingy and pinched and depiected the musical life so coldly.
French DVD, subtitles in French only.