One of my favorite things about French cinema is certain filmmakers’ ability to be discursive around “serious” subjects with a great deal of humor and compassion. It is a tacit acknowledgement that despite all the sorrows and trials of life there is an undercurrent of hope, and more important, absurdity.
Philippe Claudel’s second film, currently playing at the Mill Valley Film Festival, is a terrific example of that light touch for serious matters. Add to that alchemy the lovely sub-narratives on time and on death and loss, and what you have is very French in the best sense of the word. The moody and funny ruminations on the passage of time and the space that the dead occupy ring true and sweetly; the audience was both swept away with joy and made still with contemplation.
With a charming Stefano Accorsi (who is almost unbelievable as a grieving widower) and a soundtrack to make you wistful and amorous.
Tous Les Soleils. Dir. by Philippe Claudel. UGC, 2011. In French and Italian.