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Comment j’ai tue mon pere

The Way I Killed My Father

Veteran French actor Michel Bouquet renders such an astounding performance in Comment j’ai tue mon pere, Ann Fontaine’s family melodrama, that he elevates the entire picture way above its Freudian foundations. Bouquet plays a neglected father whose sudden return has devastating effects on his two sons (one played by Charles Berling) and daughter-in-law (the beautiful Natacha Regnier of The Dream Life of Angels).
Established doctor Jean-Luc (Berling) appears to be the perfect professional and family man. Running a private clinic in Versailles that specialises in anti-ageing treatment, he is sensitive to his patients and a well-respected citizen for his work in the community. Back at home, after a long working day, he is greeted by a seemingly loving and elegant wife (Regnier). Upon being honoured for contributions to his field, Jean-Luc decides to throw a party in the lush garden of his house. All goes well until a stranger, Maurice (Bouquet), who introduces himself as Jean-Luc’s father, appears out of the blue.
As co-writer and director, Fontaine continues to be intrigued by the paradigm of the outsider-intruder. Here the intruder is the father, who inexplicably deserted his wife and two sons when they were very young. It is Jean-Luc who feels most the pain and anger caused by his father’s sudden disappearance and now just as impulsive return. At a loss, he does not know how to deal with him and a series of dramatic confrontations lead to a shocking climax that cannot be disclosed.
France-Spain, 2001. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 100 min.

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