7:00 PM, 14th October, 2017
PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND
ORIGINAL FRENCH LANGUAGE VERSION WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
I first saw this delightful film at last year’s Melbourne Film Festival. It was then named My Life as a Courgette (an infinitely better title, if you ask me) and it was on a whim. It hadn’t made my shortlist of films to see, having essentially been unheralded for most of its life up until then. I was instantly charmed by its gentle nature, in the midst of some very bleak themes. I was obviously not the only one charmed as it proceeded to receive many accolades, including an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature.
It’s a depiction of life for children in an orphanage, mainly focusing on one nicknamed Courgette. The children, each of who will absolutely steal your heart, are innocent victims of a more adult world, and the absolutely beautiful stop-motion animation design is just one part of what gives these characters their soul.
Upon reflection, these children have a lot in common with Charlie Brown, Linus and many other characters from the “Peanuts” comics. I sincerely hope that I have not in any way dissuaded you from seeing this film for fear of its serious themes, as it is a charming adorable little film that I am so glad the rest of Canberra finally get to see on the big screen with an audience.
8:17 PM, 14th October, 2017
Dr. Jean-Pierre Werner (Cluzet) is an old-fashioned doctor, who, although at times brusque in his manner, knows his patients intimately and is completely dedicated to them. When Jean-Pierre is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, he refuses to accept his own physician’s advice to stop working – or even slow down – because he believes that no one can take his place.
To assist him, the hospital sends recently graduated mature age doctor, Nathalie Delezia (Denicourt). Jean-Pierre is unconvinced that she will be able to meet the demands of a small country practice and he sets a number of unfair (but funny) traps for the newbie. As Jean-Pierre teaches Nathalie the ropes, a mutual respect develops and through them we get a firsthand and engrossing view of the daily round of country doctors, the challenges facing them, and the unique community they serve.
If the plot outline sounds a bit ho-hum and quotidian, well, that’s really the point. As directed by doctor-turned-director Thomas Lilti, The Country Doctor is an insightful, moving, and funny character drama that is well worth your time.