Film Screening 13th September, 2014

Poster for Gabrielle


7:00 PM, 13th September, 2014

  • M
  • 103 mins
  • 2013
  • Louise Archambault
  • Louise Archambault
  • Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, Alexandre Landry, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Benoît Gouin

In its prediction that the unknown future of an individual will follow the known pasts of others of the individual’s ‘type’, the kindest of prejudices may keep any of us from meeting our potential. That is the problem that Gabrielle highlights and that its eponymic protagonist must face.

Gabrielle has Williams syndrome, a genetic alteration that tends to enhance sociability, long-term memory, and language skills at, usually, some cost to spatial relations; fine-motor, perceptual, and abstract-reasoning abilities; and concentration. A large part of Gabrielle’s social life, a choir, acquires profound importance as she falls in love with a fellow chorister, Martin. Against her blossoming sense of self, even her loving family members must inevitably test their expectations of her abilities. With the best will in the world, few have faith in Martin’s and Gabrielle’s abilities to look after each other.

This motivates Gabrielle’s strivings for emotional and physical independence from those upon whom she depends – causing, naturally, unwanted conflicts and unintended hurts.

Gabrielle offers a rare, heartwarming glimpse of victories that we hope, and usually expect, never to have to attempt ourselves. Touching and funny, it is one of those opportunities in life to become more fully human – with feeling.

John P. Harvey

Poster for A Castle in Italy (Un château en Italie)

A Castle in Italy (Un château en Italie) 

8:53 PM, 13th September, 2014

  • MA
  • 104 mins
  • 2013
  • Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
  • Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Noémie Lvovsky, Agnès de Sacy
  • Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Louis Garrel, Filippo Timi, Xavier Beauvois

The Rossi Levi family have hit hard times, and Louise (Bruni Tedeschi) is struggling to keep them and herself together. Her brother (Timi) is terminally ill, their wealth is dwindling to the stage that they may have to sell their family castle, and she is struggling to come to terms with her age and childless status. Throw a much younger infatuated lover (Garrel) into the mix and the complications from neurotic desperation, mixed with the heartaches of family love, conspire to make life complicated.

I read one review of this film that complained about how hard it is to sympathise with a rich family going downhill. I disagree, and this film’s main triumph is its ability to draw you in with the characters and their plights. It may also sound overly dour from some descriptions, but there are some wonderfully hilarious sections (the scene where a desperate, and subsequently delirious, Louise wrestles with a nun to get to a fertility chair is priceless).

Bruni Tedeschi also wrote and directed this, and she has drawn heavily from her own experiences (her brother died of AIDS, she comes from French aristocracy as her sister is Carla Bruni Sarkozy) and family (her mother and younger lover are played by her mother and ex-lover). It’s a wonderful achievement that was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. I’d strongly urge you to come along for this humorous and poignant tale about family, relationships and mortality.

Travis Cragg