A boy in a desolate, post-industrial French town thinks his dad might be Gary Cooper in “Farewell, Gary,” the debut of scribe-helmer Nassim Amaouche. Pic struggles to find a balance between its central father-son conflict (which does not involve Cooper) and the orbiting stories of the burg’s other few inhabitants. Jean-Luc Godard might have loved “Man of the West,” but “Farewell, Gary” is unlikely to find similar champions Stateside. Euro revenue will mostly come from ancillary.
Opening sees Francis (Jean-Pierre Bacri, “Look at Me”) fretting over the return of his ex-con son, Samir (Yasmine Belmadi). He has come to find work, but the only factory has closed, effectively destroying the local economy. Francis’ liaison with Marie (Dominique Reymond) is an open secret, though her tubby son (Alexandre Bonnin) thinks his dad is a long-dead cowboy. Updated Western references abound, and juxtaposition with the last few souls (mostly of Maghrebi descent) that stayed behind in harsh economic conditions is interesting but never fully develops. Mildly comic and languid scenes alternate until the (unsurprising) big reveal. Thesping is routine, and strangely, lensing isn’t in widescreen. Other tech credits are fine.