Le père de mes enfants
France/Germany, 2009, 110 minutes
Mon, Apr 26 / 8:15 / PFA / FATH26P
Wed, Apr 28 / 6:00 / Kabuki / FATH28K
Fri, Apr 30 / 6:30 / Clay / FATH30Y
Grégoire Canvel appears to have it all: a successful career as an independent film producer, a loving wife and three adorable daughters, a buzzing office in Paris and bucolic home in the countryside and a sense of satisfaction befitting a middle-aged wheeler-dealer who has retained both his sense of humor and a full head of hair. Yet happiness is fleeting—certainly more so in unpredictable real life than in the cinematic fantasias he feverishly funds and obsessively oversees—and Grégoire grows increasingly despondent as familial demands and the prospect of financial ruin provide rude awakening from his celluloid dreams. Based in part on circumstances surrounding the 2005 suicide of renowned producer Humbert Balsan, who tirelessly supported iconoclasts such as Claire Denis, Lars von Trier and Béla Tarr, Father of My Children is a wonderfully nuanced drama that confirms Mia Hansen-Løve as a major talent. As in her previous feature, All Is Forgiven (SFIFF 2008), the young yet wise-beyond-her-years writer/director deftly unfolds her narrative with a refreshingly nonjudgmental perspective on her characters’ foibles, exploring the often-unbridgeable gaps between personal choice and professional obligation, artistic freedom and the ties that bind. Hansen-Løve demonstrates a flair for observation and a sheer love of cinema characteristic of her onetime mentor, Olivier Assayas. With its directorial grace notes, unexpected side trips to Italy and Sweden and rueful farewell to the City of Light set to the swelling strains of “Que Sera, Sera,” Father of My Children reveals that in life—as in movies—whatever will be, will be.
Presented with support from Jean and Josette Deleage.