Tuesday, 21 April 2020

The Truth (La Vérité) [2019]

The astonishing lure of French cinema can perhaps be gauged by the string of celebrated filmmakers who’ve dabbled in it – from Buñuel, Kieslowski, Ophüls and Kiarostami to Polanski, Haneke, Kaurismaki and Farhadi; one can now add Hirokazu Kore-eda, as well, to this fascinating list. The Truth (La Vérité) – which is about a complicated mother-daughter relationship – between a famous, overbearing mother and a daughter who’s always lived in the shadows, yearning for attention – coming to tenuous terms with old grievances, resentments and wounds – referred to the template laid down by Bergman in Autumn Sonata (and one that has been reimagined a few times over the years, from Woody in September to Rituparno Ghosh in Unishey April). It’s to Kore-eda’s credit, therefore, that he successfully avoided the trappings of this double-edged sword, by making the film his own through infusion of his trademark humour, playfulness, humanism and elegance. The narrative is hinged on its two protagonists – Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve), an ageing superstar of French cinema who’s just written a memoir filled with half-truths and blatant omissions, and her daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche), who’s on a visit from New York with her actor husband (Ethan Hawke) and kid daughter (Clémentine Grenier). In an interesting meta element, Fabienne is working in a film within the film where too mother-daughter relationship is grappled, but with the roles reversed. While performances were good throughout, Deneuve stole the show with her infuriating yet infectious portrayal of the prima donna oozing with charisma and self-delusion. In a mischievous sequence, by the way, the ever insecure Fabienne scoffs at the name of former French diva Brigitte Bardot who too had once starred in a movie titled La Vérité.

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Genre: Drama/Family Drama
Language: French

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