7:00 PM, 20th October, 2018
In Australian law, we answer the question “what is a family?” with the definition “a parent and a child”, and we spent much of last year debating who among us had the right to form families. This French movie offers a good contribution to the debate, brought to the screen in the guise of a situational comedy.
Omar Sy (of The Intouchables and Samba) plays our hapless hero Samuel, who unexpectedly finds himself with custody of Gloria, the infant daughter he didn’t know he had. The bulk of the movie takes place eight years later – when Gloria’s mother Kristen (Clémence Poésy who played Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter franchise) reappears seeking custody.
Director Hugo Gélin deftly avoids the Hollywood clichés of single parenting as Sam and Gloria’s delightful and quirky life together is increasingly threatened by Kristen’s ambitions to be a mother. Both Sy and Poésy are convincing as Gloria’s parents, and Gloria Colston is wonderfully poignant as the loyal daughter conflicted by her longing for a life containing both parents.
9:07 PM, 20th October, 2018
Younger audiences may not be familiar with director Aki Kaurismäki. Those of us who frequented independent cinemas like Electric Shadows and Center Cinema (or, if you were in Adelaide, the Mercury) in the 1990s, would remember the quirky humour of films like Leningrad Cowboys Go America and Drifting Clouds. There was also a recent retrospective at the NFSA’s Arc Cinema.
If you’ve never experienced Kaurismäki before, and you’re open to deadpan laughs (as an alternative to the obvious humour of modern Hollywood), then you’re in for a treat here. The Other Side of Hope depicts the story of a businessman starting up a seafood restaurant, who initially confronts and then supports an asylum seeker from Syria looking for his sister.
It’s a beautiful story that riffs on the human condition, taking in the modern political issue of refugees seeking a better life. But the mix of satirical jabs at bureaucracy – paralleled with the simple humour arising from, for example, the creation of Japanese cuisine by cooks and owners who have no culinary skills – ensure this is also an enjoyable experience. One of my favourite films from last year, and I hope you adore it too.