Friday, 1 January 2010
A Christmas Tale 
The title of the French movie A Christmas Tale, by Arnaud Desplechin, is deliciously misleading, and reminded me a lot about another brilliant movie, Rituparno Ghosh’s Utsab (The Festival). Both the movies are about the getting together of a large family on the occasion of the most important festival of the respective community (Christmas in the former, and Durga Puja in the latter). However, the inherent joy and celebration surrounding the festivals form the perfect springboard for each director to put the respective family under scanner and open a can of worms in the process. The matriarch of the Vuillard family has been diagnosed with cancer, and hence the entire family – her daughter and two sons, along with their respective spouses and/or fiancé, as well, her nephew, have decided to forget their personal problems and differences for once and celebrate Christmas together at their family mansion. Alas, amidst all the brouhaha and fun, familial strains and conflicts become that much more pronounced in this irreverent, cynical and darkly comic, yet surprisingly humane movie, that hasn’t shied away from making biting observations at topics ranging from alcoholism and unrequited love to illness and death. The acting is wonderful throughout; yet special mention must be made of the stately Catherine Deneuve and the amazing Mathew Amalric.
Director: Arnaud Desplechin
Genre: Drama/Black Comedy/Family Drama/Ensemble Film