Review: ‘Versailles’


"Versailles" is scripter Pierre Schoeller's largely half-baked feature debut as helmer.

A homeless mother drops her kid off with a reclusive ex-con in the forest of “Versailles,” scripter Pierre Schoeller’s largely half-baked feature debut as helmer. Very Gallic in the way down-and-outers double as philosophers, pic requires a heavy suspension of belief and never really builds to anything memorable, though perfs are strong and lensing is finely textured. French screens should see decent biz, but offshore auds are likely to give “Versailles” a “let them eat cake” shrug of indifference.

Tired of the social services system she can’t negotiate, homeless Nina (Judith Chemla) is a loving but inadequate mother to 5-year-old Enzo (Max Baissette de Malglaive, impressive). Chancing upon Damien (Guillaume Depardieu) in his shack in the Versailles woods, she does a runner after one night, leaving Enzo so she can put her life in order. Though largely controlled by his id, Damien grows close to the boy; as winter comes he returns to his estranged father (Patrick Descamps) to give Enzo a home. Long nighttime takes and plays of focus characterize skilled lensing, through close-ups of Enzo’s brown eyes milk silent exclamations of “adorable!,” and piano music unnecessarily underlines poignancy.





A Les films Pelleas production, with the participation of the Centre National de la Cinematographie. (International sales: Les Films du Losange, Paris.) Produced by Geraldine Michelot. Directed, written by Pierre Schoeller.


Camera (color), Julien Hirsch; editor, Mathilde Muyard; music, Philippe Schoeller; production designer, Brigitte Brassart; costume designer, Marie Cesari; line producers, Philippe Martin, Geraldine Michelot. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard), May 19, 2008. Running time: 113 MIN.


Guillaume Depardieu, Max Baissette de Malglaive, Judith Chemla, Aure Atika, Patrick Descamps, Matteo Giovannetti, Brigitte Sy, Franc Bruneau, Philippe Dupagne.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety