Talking Pictures

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Le Passage

Posted by keith1942 on May 1, 2012

 

France 2011 1.66:1 in colour and Panavision.

Director Fabien Montagner.

This is a ghost story, beautifully filmed. It is set on October 29th 1989, [I rather suspect the date is significant]. An elderly man sets the table in an old-fashioned dining room. He calls upstairs where young woman reclines reading and listening to her MP3 player. It is only the barking of the family collie that makes her aware of mealtime.

The first course is soup. The grandfather remembers that it was a favourite of the girl’s grandmother, and remarks that she is very like her. It becomes clear that there is an absent father and that the young woman resents the situation.

Abruptly she volunteers to take the dog, Max, for a walk. He soon runs off and she chases him in to a disused rail siding. An old man [possibly Jewish] appears and points to a disused carriage where Max is presumably chasing rabbits. The carriage is full of cobwebs and detritus. The girl emerges on the far side in a parallel to the way that opens Lewes Carroll’s classic Alice. She enters a wood where the past and the present intertwine. The past is set during the war time occupation and one other character that she meets in the past is [inevitably] her grandmother.

After this ghostly adventure the girl returns home with Max to find an open photo album and a photograph of the dead grandmother. The film ends with an embrace between grandfather and granddaughter.

The closure of the film is not really a surprise but the evocation of the past is beautifully done. The wood changes from dappled sunshine to a more threatening misty and damp territory. The wide screen camera catches the changing hues and colours in the contrasting settings. The music varies from low cellos and vibraphone too much higher violin and a piano. And the bird songs change from chirppy twitters to more threatening squawks. The whole 18 minutes is absorbing and remarkably effective. The cast, including Totem as Max, performs very well.

One totally separate pleasure was the opening credits of the production Datasat, which is a brief but delightful pastiche of Spielberg’s Close Encounters.

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One Response to “Le Passage

  1. Fabien said

    Hi Keith, I’m Fabien, the director of “Le Passage” and I just found your movie critics ! I’m very happy and suprised to read that (I’m searching all the stuff about my movie…lol) ! Thank you !! Where have you watched it? Thank you again ! Fabien

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