Our most cinephilic francophiles head to the 2015 Melbourne French Film Festival. These are their reviews.
We continue our Melbourne French Film Festival Review Series with our guest blogger Véronique, and her review of François Dupeyron’s 2013 film One of a Kind (Mon âme par toi guérie).
François Dupeyron, the director of One of a Kind (French title Mon âme par toi guérie – “my soul healed by you”) , is a maverick of contemporary French cinema and known for the originality and versatility of his films. The movie almost didn’t see the light of day as Dupeyron struggled to find production funding. Why so many French producers turned away from this offbeat and intelligent story sadly says a lot about where they are currently willing to put their money – or not.
The central character, Frédi, is a lonely motorhome-living, bikie tree lopper, who lost his mum a few weeks ago. She was a healer, and this ‘gift’ has been passed on to him. He refuses to hear of it, or acknowledge it, or use it.The film follows him slowly coming round to accept his power whilst he, and those around him, are trying to make sense of the meaning and purpose of their lives.
It is an adaptation from Dupeyron’s own book and is very much in the French tradition of populist indie movies. Whilst there are a few flaws in the way the story develops, it is powerful at many levels. As Frédi, Grégory Gadebois’ performance is stellar and he is supported by a strong cast. The cinematography work is stunning and the way Dupeyron makes us observe the protagonists without any moralising or judgement is elegant as well as touching. The soundtrack features Nina Hagen and several contemporary French artists. The result is an offbeat, unique story that fits perfectly within the tradition of French cinéma d’auteur and will stay with you long after the lights have come back on.
Catch One of a Kind at the festival here.
By Véronique Bergeron.