Director: Cédric Klapisch
Cast: Pio Marmaï, Ana Girardot, François Civil, Jean-Marc Roulot, María Valverde, Yamée Couture, Jean-Marie Winling, Tewfik Jallab
Runtime: 1 hr 54 mins
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scene)
Released By: Shaw
Opening Day: 23 November 2017
Synopsis: Jean is 30 years old and has spent the last decade travelling around the world. Now settled abroad, he is called back home to France to the bedside of his terminally ill father. It’s the end of the summer and the approaching grape harvest gives Jean the opportunity to reunite with his sister Juliette and his brother Jérémie to agree on the future of the family vineyard. Over the course of one year, the three siblings slowly rebuild their relationship, bonded by their genuine and vital passion for the craft.
For those who perceived French cinema as high-brow, arthouse drama or can only recognises the faces of Audrey Tautou or Jean Reno should take a look at Back to Burgundy also known as Ce Qui Nous Lie, the latest drama from Cedric Klapisch who have earlier helmed Russian Dolls and Chinese Puzzle.
Klapisch who also co-wrote the screenplay celebrates three things in his story. First of all, family followed by reconnection and lastly good old fine wine. Can’t blame the guy for the latter, he is French after all.
Pio Marmai who kind of resembles the French version of American actor Oscar Isaac plays Jean, the eldest estranged son of a family who owned a small vineyard in the renowned region of France. When he learnt that his father is ailing, Jean returned to his family after a decade of living outside the country. His second sister Juliette (Ana Girardot) who is running the day-to-day business of the vineyard is suffering from a lack of confidence and his youngest brother, Jeremie (Francois Civil from As Above, So Below) feels frustrated by his rich and powerful father-in-law. Jean has his own set of problem as well, he has a wife, young son and a vineyard of his own waiting for him in Australia.
Beside their personal struggles, the siblings still have to cough up $500,000 for the inheritance tax which they clearly do not have. For a two hours movie, there are as many subplots to fill three movies but Klapisch balances everything nicely if not too overly perfect by the end of it though I must add it’s the wondrous journey that counts.
It’s all about the hard knocks in life that we see in Jean as he ponders between going back to his own family in Australia or sticks with his siblings during those difficult times. Juliette is the weakest among them emotionally but she is the one who really can’t bear the selling of the house and vineyard. Jeremie the youngest of the lot attempts to please his older siblings but have problems dealing with his filthy rich overbearing father in law. We see the siblings quarrel, they make up, they crack jokes, they quarrel again. The family dynamics between them are intoxicating and the three main cast members did a great job making audiences feel for them and that’s perhaps what makes this drama works.
There’s also bits and pieces of the wine making process as we see part-time harvesters being hired, jargons of the grape picking process being said and picturesque shots of the lush vineyard in various stages of the season and yes idiotic competitors lurking everywhere. Klapisch even throws in flashback sequences to showcase the siblings’ childhood. Still, these are just icing on an already delectable cake and nothing beats the message of how important family is no matter how hard life goes.
(An enjoyable French family drama not to be missed by even teetotallers)
Review by Linus Tee