Dir: Cedric Klapisch | Cast: Pio Marmai, Ana Girardot, Francois Civil, Jean-Marc Roulot, Maria Valverde, Jean-Marie Winling | 113′ | France | Drama
Cedric Klapisch (Paris) offers a fresh and funky wine-themed family drama along similar lines to the more sedate Bordeaux-set You Will Be My Son (Gilles Legrand) and the Beaujolais-soaked Saint Amour with Gerard Depardieu.
This time we are in Burgundy in a domaine inherited by three siblings in the shape of Jean (Pio Marmai); Juliette (Ana Girardot) and Jeremie (Francois Civil) whose father (Eric Caravaca – seen in flashback) is on his way out. Once again inheritance, family and business are the main concerns in this light-hearted film which offers insight into the workings of the wine trade in the glorious French countryside and a cameo role for Klapisch in the final scenes.
Jean has recently returned from Australia where he runs a winery with his Spanish wife Alicia (Maria Valverde) and the film is narrated and viewed from his perspective. Up to now Juliette has been running the estate with her younger brother Jeremie and the experienced manager and winemaker Marcel (Jean-Marc Roulot. Juliette has a rather underwritten role beyond her wine-making side, but Jeremy has married into one of Burgundy’s most prominent wine families headed by his overbearing father-in-law Anselme (Jean-Marie Winling) who like Niels Arestrup’s patriarch in You Will be My Son, doesn’t think his son-in-law is really up to the job – and he’s not far wrong. Jean, the more confident and charismatic of the sons – has his own business worries back home and a roving eye into the bargain for one Lina (Karidja Toure/Girlhood), that seems to suggest all is not well with his marriage. Jeremie ‘s issues lie more with his in-laws and wife (Yamee Couture), and he also feels resentful that Jean had been out of touch since their mother died five years earlier.
With its lively soundtrack, fabulous scenery and convincing plotlines Klapisch serves up a really well made and reliable premier cru Classé here. And despite the trio’s trials and tribulations, the tone is always upbeat rather than maudlin. The narrative goes slightly off piste when it floats into the stormy waters of Jean’s relationship with Alicia, who turns up unexpectedly in the saggy third act. That said, Marmai really gives the drama its heart and soul, grabbing the glory in nearly every scene. The other two are more subtle, with Girardot’s Juliette struggling to convince her co-workers, and Civil’s Jeremie coming over as a little bit of a wuss. BACK TO BURGUNDY is an enjoyable and well-crafted film with its stunning scenery and vivacious score by Loik Dury and Christophe Minck giving a feeling of light-headed joie de vivre. MT
OUT ON 1 SEPTEMBER AT ARTHOUSE CINEMAS NATIONWIDE