DIRECTOR: Brigitte Rouen
COUNTRY: France 1992
CAST: Nicole Garcia, Marianne Basler, Brigitte Rouen
WRITTEN BY: Brigitte Rouan
SUPER FEATURES: Very good (hi)story of three sisters.
There are few of us, in this side of the ocean, that can really feel and understand the horrible destruction that overcame Europe this century, and what it left behind. After all these years, there are still deep scars, which nowadays, get used up by a different breed in an empty fight for a dream that is sicker than freedom ever will be. It isn't all about love..... it is about giving in to what is available.... it's all there is.
There are three sisters, and they are good friends, and differ in many respects. The oldest one promptly marries a naval officer (story starts in 1946) just before the french go off to try and save their Algerian province, and later the Vietnamese country. The marriage is fine, and there are four kids, a fifth on the way, and the officer goes off to Japan. He disappears. The happy marriage is now history, and the mother tries to kill herself ( fails ) because she misses her husband. The second sister gets married to a guy who does little, except reading books. He gets taken to Algeria, where he has a wine farm, and employs Algerians. And the younger sister lives with them.
The younger sister has become a nurse, a valiant battler to a cause that prevents her from speaking about it to any one. She has a loved one who happens to be an Algerian, and on occasional evenings they visit together in the middle of the night. The tensions in Algeria get tougher, the marriage of the second sister is falling apart, she does all the managing of the farm, and the husband reads. The younger sister's line of men has increased, suitors to an idea they can not find. And one day the lover is caught and shot. She leaves for France, after taking abuse by Algerians who didn't know better. The second sister, saves her husband, but gets shot in the process.
And as the film ends, it is 1964, and the third sister is finally going to get married, and can't even say the words. It is clear, that this is not what she really wanted, but it is what she has to settle for, the knight on a white horse she spoke of never materialized, or if he did, he was shot by the very people she is a part of.... a meaningless fight for colonialism.
The filming of this story is actually extremely romantic, and has moments that come off like a romance novel, in that at times it appears overly emotional, and then immediately after shows us another side, full of fantasy. In other words, there is a lot to be desired by the choices people have to make, or end up with,.... and even when they have a choice, they may not come away with it. A sad commentary on idealism versus realism.
One sister had hopes, and ended up disillusioned. One had a good start, but ended up not seeing the man's faults. And the third has met her man, but can never really enjoy it, or make anything out of it. The two who never had an idea of what they wanted, eventually find that they are not too happy, despite their outward appearance that they are....it all comes out in a scene, when the two older sisters are upset because the younger one is over thirty, not married, and refuses the approaches of a well to do architect. The one who couldn't consume her private inner marriage, was more courageous and fought a more humanitarian battle.. but where she has courage, it also is the means to her destruction.
While the film ends a bit on an upbeat note, it had to go through a tough period to finally afford a chance for the third sister to accept what society has to offer. The catholic rites she is undertaking are extremely strict ( the camera stays on the priest's face for it ) and even have a hint that the foreigners are not children of god.
In its own way, it is a scathing attack on what was does for an individual, and the stupid notions many of us get, when something comes around, and we immediately take sides and guns to our cartel. And it is this attitude, which is destroying the beauty, and the humanity in all of us, despite the glorious battle some of us have, or are, fighting. In its own way, the film deplores the belief systems which create the hypocrisies.... And deservedly so.
A VERY GOOD FILM...
INTENSE, AND FUN...the film really wants to break into a comedy, but a war always manages to stop it.
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