Sid keeps the classic films coming!
The Son of Joseph. (French) Eugene Green 1hr 53min.
Wednesday, January 17th 6:15pm.
This is a wonderfully odd film––a mix of natural acting and a formal style favored by Green that has the actors speaking their words often directly to us, the viewers, and without the emotion that usually accompanies such words. It takes a few minutes to get used to this style but it works in surprising ways. A painting sets the story in motion, showing Joseph about to slit the throat of his son on God’s orders. A fifteen-year-old boy (Victor Ezenfis), having seen the painting, refuses to accept the answer his single mother (a radiant Natacha Régnier) gives when he asks her who he father is. She says: “You have no father.”
Using his wits and determination, he pursues the answer on his own, prying into his mother’s things to discover the name of the man he is seeking. It turns out he is a flamboyant womanizing book publisher (Mathieu Amalric) who says to his current wife he cannot remember how many children he has, perhaps because he spends too much time fooling around with his assistant. When our young protagonist decides to replicate the act in the painting, but reversing the roles, he falters, but is saved from his headstrong actions––and the authorities––by a chance encounter with his father’s brother. Kind and wise, the brother (Fabrizio Rongione), who had struggled with addiction but now wants to settle in the family country home, befriends the young man in several wonderfully meandering yet precisely choreographed walks through the parks of Paris. One trip takes them into a baroque church and the rehearsal of a baroque piece for lute and female voice.
If this sounds a bit odd, it is, but in a way that is increasingly affecting––the feelings between the youth and his uncle, expressed in Green’s formal style, allow us to pay attention more to their words than to how they speak them. When boy cleverly gets his uncle to meet his mother, the scene is set for satisfying ending, which mixes the natural style with Green’s formalism with farcical humor.
Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, 660 Lombard St. 6:15pm
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org 415-888-2868.
Let us know if you need transportation. All are welcome. $5 for non-members.