Ma saison preferee + Andre Techine: After the New Wave

Director: Andre Techine


Ma saison preferee is a subtle yet penetrating exploration of family ties and the complex, uncomfortable emotions they can summon up even in the most ordered of lives. Ostensibly it’s a familiar family drama about the problems confronting a mature brother and sister whose widowed mother can no longer be left to fend for herself. Emilie (Catherine Deneuve) is a public notary in small-town France, and her younger brother Antoine (Daniel Auteuil) is a top Toulouse neurologist. Reunited after many years spent living their very different lives, the brother and sister find themselves at loggerheads over what to do about their mother. A whole series of awkward encounters, played out against the changing seasons, force Emily and Antoine to confront some painful truths about their feelings and the people they have become.
What lifts Ma saison preferee well out of the rut of standard French domestic drama is Techine’s honest and fairly direct treatment of this difficult relationship, whose incestuous underpinnings are subtly caught. The two leads are terrific. Auteuil had already proved himself capable of gaining our sympathy for an emotional cripple in Un cÏur en hiver (A Heart in Winter), but Deneuve is a revelation. Playing against her usual image as the cool, mysterious beauty, she is here forced to reveal a lack of self-control and explore what Techine has described as ‘inner fears and reverberations.’
Plus Andre Techine-After the New Wave, Laurent Perrin’s very useful documentary about the director. Techine talks about the storms in the South-west (his birthplace), his initially blind fascination with the cinema, then his years as critic for Cahiers du cinema, his love of Berthold Brecht, and finally his personal approach to working with actors.
France, 1994. Colour. English subtitles. 52 minutes.

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