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Jean-Luc is an established gerontologist who can do no wrong; he runs a private clinic specialising in anti-ageing treatments. Honoured for his work in this field, he throws a garden party at his home. It is during this social event that his father suddenly reappears, back after a long exile. A physician, he had left decades earlier without any apparent reason to practice in Africa. He moves into his son's home for several days, phlegmatically observing everything with an enigmatic smile. He peruses Jean-Luc's life and environment with cruel objectivity. The arrival of this interloper father, who everyone thought had disappeared for good, shatters the family microcosm: Jean-Luc doesn't know how to take him, as if the memory - or the resentment - was nothing but lost time; his wife becomes fond of this highly unconventional man; after first refusing to deal with him, Jean-Luc's younger brother strikes up a modest bond with him.Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The last opus of Anne Fontaine is a combination of two influences: Oedipus complex and Nettoyage A Sec (Fontaine's previous film).
What it takes from the Oedipus story is of course the conflictual relationship between Charles Berling (the son) and Michel Bouquet (the father), and how Berling tries to 'kill' his father to affirm his own identity. From Nettoyage A Sec, the film takes his structure: how a seemingly ideal couple (Berling and Regnier) copes with the unexpected intrusion of the father.
If it were just for the acting, How I killed my Father would deserve a 10. Bouquet and Berling share an astounding intimacy on screen which interestingly happened off the set as well (they wrote a book of thoughts together just after the shoot). Regnier is surprisingly convincing in the beautiful up-class wife; what a versatility after her role in the Dreamlife of Angels when she was a young insecure squatter. However there is no special twist in the storyline, like one which made Nettoyage A Sec so disturbing...
To sum up, a good acting piece which failed to deliver in the drama.
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