Father of My Children DVD
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Directed by Mia Hansen-Love
Produced in 2009
Main Language - French with English subtitles
Made by the young French director Mia Hansen-Løve, this is a mature and audacious film about a passionate film producer trying to stay afloat. It can rightly take its place among the great movies about filmmaking, says Alex Davidson.
Most reviews of Mia Hansen-Løve’s The Father of My Children reveal a startling scene half way through the film which dramatically changes the course of the plot. This review will not give the game away, as the surprise is key to the events that follow, yet it is an example of the audacity of the young director (still only 29), who displays an incredible maturity in only her second film, which she also scripted.
The film follows Grégoire Canvel (Louis-Do de Lencquesaing), a producer of arthouse films, who is struggling to stay afloat as his projects threaten to drain his finances. Reluctant to sell his back catalogue yet desperate to enable the vision of the talented directors he promotes, his desperation threatens to scupper his relationship with his family, although it is later revealed the extent to which his wife loves and admires his passion for the arts.
Hansen-Løve based her story on the late Humbert Balsan, the legendary producer who funded extraordinary work by, among others, Lars von Trier, Claire Denis and Elia Suleiman. He also part-funded Hansen-Løve’s first feature, Tout Est Pardonné. Lencquesaing gives a brilliant performance as the charismatic, often difficult producer, whose films seem as important to him as his children (the title could refer to him both as a family patriarch and as the nurturer of great talent). The director also draws superbly naturalistic performances from the three child actors - a scene where the two youngest daughters put on a show for their parents is particularly touching, while de Lencquesaing’s real-life daughter, Alice, playing the oldest of his children, is a talent to watch.
Cineastes will especially appreciate the rhythms of The Father of My Children, with its frantic excitement for the power of cinema (it shares the same energy as Nanni Moretti’s celebrated short The Opening Night of Close Up) and the challenges of encouraging funds without compromising artistic vision. The film is worthy of comparison to the great movies about filmmaking, such as François Truffaut’s Day For Night and Robert Altman’s The Player
Alex Davidson on 5th October 2020
Author of 231 reviews
Winner of the Jury Special Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, Father of my Children sees director Hansen-Love tell the story of a succesful film producer facing the unthinkable - failure. It was inspired by the story of the film producer, Humbert Balsan, who took his life at the age of 51 when he realized he would go bankrupt.
Gregoire Canvel has everythng a man can want. A wife he loves, three delightful children and a stimulating job as a film producer. Yet his prestigious production company is on its last legs, with too many productions, too many risks and too many debts. Even when storm clouds begin to gather Gregoire ploughs on at all costs. Where will his blind obstinacy lead him?
Publisher: Artificial Eye
Length: 110 mins
Cat No: ART487DVD
Format: DVD Colour