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Daniel Auteuil in Joachim Lafosse Drama – The Hollywood Reporter

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Within the movies of Belgian auteur Joachim Lafosse, households are typically torn aside from the within, introduced down by deep-seated psychological baggage (The Stressed, Personal Property), extraordinarily dangerous habits (Personal Classes, Hold Going) or a historical past of abuse (Our Youngsters). For his newest characteristic, A Silence (Un silence), the writer-director has managed to pack all three components right into a single film, specializing in a bourgeois clan that step by step unravels as previous and current offenses come again to hang-out them.

Like the remainder of Lafosse’s work, it’s a penetrating, artfully made drama, this one starring Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Devos and newcomer Matthieu Galoux, delivering quietly riveting performances. However it additionally overstretches itself, with too many pivotal occasions coinciding without delay, making the plot much less credible whereas dissipating the emotional impact of its many revelations. After premiering in San Sebastian, the movie will proceed its pageant run, adopted by theatrical play in France, Belgium and different Euro territories.

A Silence

The Backside Line

A troublesome if tactful watch.

Venue: San Sebastian Movie Competition (Official Choice)
Forged: Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Devos, Matthieu Galoux, Salomé Dewaels, Jeanne Cherhal, Louise Chevillotte
Director: Joachim Lafosse
Screenwriters: Joachim Lafosse, Thomas Van Zuylen, Chloé Duponchelle, Paul Ismaël


1 hour 40 minutes

The “silence” of the title is one thing that has overshadowed the Schaar household for a lot too lengthy. You may really feel it within the hushed environment of their tasteful city mansion, the place the high-profile prison lawyer, François (Auteuil), lives along with his spouse, Astrid (Devos), and their adopted teenage son, Raphael (Galoux). The three don’t appear to fraternalize a lot after they stumble upon one another, nearly by chance, at odd hours of the day or evening. In any other case, everybody stays confined to their very own personal house.

There’s a cause for this — really a bunch of causes, a number of which we’ll study because the narrative progresses and some deep, darkish household secrets and techniques are delivered to the floor. However at first, the family is overwhelmed by the extreme media highlight on a case of pedophilia and homicide that François is within the midst of prosecuting. We don’t know all of the horrible particulars, of which Lafosse and his three co-writers present solely items. However it’s clearly one thing that has captivated the native press, who stay parked outdoors the Schaar’s entrance gate always, ready to toss questions at François each time he exhibits his face.

If that scenario isn’t sophisticated sufficient — François has been representing the younger victims for 5 years already, and the trial has taken over his life — it turns into a veritable shitstorm when the lawyer’s daughter, Caroline (Louise Chevillotte), confronts Astrid about one thing terrible that occurred in their very own household over 25 years in the past. Lafosse withholds key details about these occasions for fairly some time, and it’s not price spoiling them right here. However suffice it to say that, coincidentally or not — and therein lies one of many movie’s key questions — François’ skilled and private lives come clashing collectively in a extremely disagreeable approach, turning his home upside-down.

The story is principally informed from Astrid’s perspective as she grapples with the fallout of the revelations, which not solely contain her husband but additionally Raphael, an emotionally distraught excessive schooler who finds himself swept into the proceedings. Within the movie’s dense second half, the point of view begins to modify between mom and son, exhibiting how they’re each compelled to bear the brunt of François’ unspeakable acts and habits. One other query Lafosse asks is: Are you able to pardon a liked one for previous crimes, or for being in want of great psychiatric assist? Or must you simply allow them to be punished?

Such questions appear to be a specialty of Lafosse’s, a director whose finest film to this point, the 2012 Cannes prizewinner, Our Youngsters, made the viewer in some way really feel deep empathy for a lady who killed all 5 of her personal children. Right here, nevertheless — and regardless of some remaining doubts that we’re left with — it’s onerous to get behind François when there’s a pile of proof stacked in opposition to him.

That is additionally one of many most important issues with the movie’s construction: So many issues occur in such a short while span — a giant trial, a giant household secret out of the blue popping out, a giant new infraction dedicated by both François or Raphael — that it stretches credulity, even when thematically talking the occasions are all associated, each psychologically and criminally.

Lafosse has by no means been a really cheery director, however A Silence might be his bleakest movie to this point. From the very first shot, common DP Jean-François Hensgens frames the motion tightly, solely revealing a part of the rain-soaked automobile window as Astrid drives to satisfy with a cop (Jeanne Cherhal) who’s been trailing François for a while. The claustrophobic viewpoint, from which we are able to by no means be taught the total fact, and the place it looks like the partitions are ceaselessly closing in, completely encapsulates the Schaars’ scenario.

It’s a dark scenario certainly, which isn’t to say {that a} film about baby abuse and homicide is meant to be some sort of upbeat pleasure experience. However maybe Lafosse lays the sauce on too thick this time, and though he once more probes the ethical quandaries of characters dealing with as much as terrible truths, he appears to have already reached his verdict.

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