french films > A travers la forêt

A travers la forêt

A travers la forêt

cast: Aurélien Wiik, Camille Berthomier

year: 2004

colour: yes


director: Jean-Paul Civeyrac

runtime: 65

Not yet known in Britain, Jean-Paul Civeyrac is increasingly making a name as one of France's more adventurous film-makers, and the dream-like A travers la forêt demonstrates why. A young woman (Camille Berthomier) is so enraptured by love's young dream that she's moved to song, in a style reminiscent of Jacques Demy's musicals. Suddenly the sky clouds over, and we're in a much darker realm, for her lover is dead, and she refuses to accept it. The film deals with her attempt to grieve, and her two sisters' attempt to help. What makes the film remarkable is its elegant, poised artifice: the story is told in nine chapters, each a long single take, making the most of duration, shifts in colour and a sinuous, alluring camera choreography. The result may verge riskily on aestheticism, but by the final scene - with its sublimely eerie soundtrack use of Charles Ives' 'The Unanswered Question' - A travers la forêt proves itself to be literally and figuratively a deeply haunting experience.


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