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THE THORN IN THE HEART

Director: MICHEL GONDRY

86 minutes| France| 2009| Subtitled| Colour| D-Cinema


EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI

After the quirky cinematic wizardry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Be Kind Rewind, director Michel Gondry tackles a more personal project in this intimate portrait of his imposing Aunt Suzette. This elderly retired teacher is a matriarchal figure, and – intercut with often charming home-movie material –
the substance of the film traces her quietly heroic teaching career in the remote, rugged Cevennes region of France over several decades. Obviously, her skills and sheer fortitude changed many lives, but what also emerges is how that very same iron will also shaped a troubled relationship with her vulnerable son Jean-Yves. Gondry doesn’t judge, and neither does he tell us what to think, but there’s much to ponder here on how time, place and personalities shape our fates. And in Jean-Yves, Super-8 aficionado and model railway enthusiast, Gondry clearly sees a kindred creative spirit whose life took a very different path. It’s a low-key yet fascinating peek into someone else’s family album. (Notes by Trevor Johnston). IFI IRISH SHORTS: This screening will include the IFB-funded animated short The Polish Language by Orla McHardy and Alice Lyons. 5 minutes, 2009, Colour.

French Film Club screening on January 18th at 21.00.

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