A Sunday In The Country


Reviewed by: David Stanners

A Sunday In The Country
"Bertrand Tavernier has created a quiet little film, so quiet that it fails to communicate much at all."

Set in pre World War One rural France, Sunday In The Country tells the story of an ageing painter, Monsieur Ladmiral (Louis Ducreux), who lives in a big house and reminisces about his deceased wife and past experiences. Accompanied by his housekeeper (Monique Chaumette), he is joined on Sunday by his son Gonzague (Michel Aumont), daughter-in-law Marie-Therese (Genevieve Mnich), daughter Irene (Sabine Azema) and grandchildren.

Sunday by name and Sunday by nature, the narrative plods along at a rural pace. Not much happens, as Monsieur L chats to Gonzague about life, painting and more painting, while quietly considering his son's lacklustre marriage to a placid, servile woman. Gonzague finds his father's overbearing talents as an artist difficult to handle and sheepishly converses with Marie-Therese about his limitations, mediocrity and insecurities. At the same time he tries to score points by reminding his father how reliable and faithful he is to these Sunday visits, unlike his flamboyant, whimsical sister, whose visits are few and far between. When Irene does eventually make an appearance, her jovial nature turns the house upside down, much to her father's delight.

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Bertrand Tavernier has created a quiet little film, so quiet that it fails to communicate much at all. The excretion of family truths and difficulties are so mundane, that dramatic possibility soon evaporates. When the vivacious Irene turns up, hope shines briefly for a moment, but is soon extinguished.

It is as if Tavernier has drawn the outline concept of pre-war drama on a blank canvas, but forgot to fill it in. The characters are played as well as can be expected, but with little to work with, their efforts are soon washed ashore. It seems harsh to criticise such a quiet, harmless little picture, but, as a piece of family drama, Sunday In The Country is more dull than quiet and more nonchalant than harmless.

Reviewed on: 05 Mar 2006
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A Sunday In The Country packshot
An ageing artist is visited at his country estate by his family.
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Director: Bertrand Tavernier

Writer: Bertrand Tavernier, Colo Tavernier, based on the novel by Pierre Bost

Starring: Louis Ducreux, Michel Aumont, Sabine Azema, Genevieve Mnich, Monique Chaumette, Thomas Duval, Quentin Ogier, Katia Wostrikoff, Claude Winter

Year: 1984

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: France


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