french films > Gardens in Autumn

Gardens in Autumn

Gardens in Autumn

Gardens in Autumn

cast: Séverin Blanchet, Pascal Vincent, Michel Piccoli

year: 2006

colour: yes


director: Otar Iosseliani

runtime: 115

French-based Georgian director Otar Iosseliani, philosopher and farceur, remains the most distinctively mischievous provocateur of European cinema, but does it with such casual charm that he makes it seem easy. Like all Iosseliani's work since the 80s, Gardens in Autumn is a rambling, free-associative, almost wordless piece, a blithely acidic satirical panorama of society high and low. Its central thread follows the travails of a high-ranking French government minister, obliged to resign after a monumental screw up, who finds himself taking eagerly to life beyond the corridors (and secret passageways) of power. A devious narrative, structured in a series of absurdist tableaux, hauls in an extraordinary host of characters: dignitaries, boozers, African squatters, coffin makers and Orthodox priests, as well as the usual Iosseliani bestiary, headed this time by a sardonic toucan. The director makes his customary jovial appearance, as a nonchalant gardener, but the pièce de resistance is a jaw-dropping cameo by Michel Piccoli, as you've never (believe us, never) seen him before. Corrosive and joyous, Gardens in Autumn is in the great subversive tradition of European cinema.


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