Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train

Take the train: Jean-Marie and his father Lucien (Berling and Trintignant) attend the funeral of their uncle/brother.
dir Patrice Chereau
scr Daniele Thompson, Patrice Chereau, Pierre Thridvic
with Pascal Greggory, Charles Berling, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Silvian Jacques, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Roschdy Zem, Vincent Perez, Bruno Todeschini, Dominique Blanc, Delphine Schlitz, Marie Daems, Nathan Cogan
98/France 4 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
With a bracing script and an engaging cast, Chereu's Those Who Love Me... is a remarkable exploration of the ties that bind people together. Eric Gautier's fantastic cinematography adds to the film's style, which is a blend of arresting visuals, unusual sounds, eclectic music, intriguing dialog and, most importantly, very real characters.

The extended "family" assembles in a Paris train station to travel to the funeral of Jean-Baptiste, a controversial painter-patriarch. And it's an amazing assortment of people--estranged relatives, old friends and students, former lovers and their spouses. At the centre are Jean-Baptiste's protege (Greggory), whose lover (Todeschini) has fallen for a young man (Jacques) with several secrets. Nephew Jean-Marie (Berling) hasn't seen his wife Claire (Bruni-Tedeschi) in months, but no one knows this. And eventually they arrive in Limoges for the funeral and a night in the family manse, where Jean-Baptiste's brother (Trintignant) watches as the family threads unravel ... and intertwine.

There's lots more, of course, since Jean-Baptiste's life was extremely colourful, to put it mildly. And the film captures all of these disparate characters beautifully, unveiling their history and secrets cleverly and allowing us to watch each grieve in a very different way ... and for different reasons. Like a sprawling, meaty, French Big Chill, the film is at times a chaotic jumble, with so much going on you can hardly keep track of it all. But the result is exhilarating, mesmerising and ultimately satisfying in the way it deconstructs and ultimately affirms the things that hold people together.

[15--adult themes and situations] 7.Mar.00
UK release 18.Aug.00

Winner of three 1999 Césars: best director, best cinematography and best supporting actress Dominique Blanc.

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© 2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall