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Adieu

Although "Adieu" features beautiful Super 16-shot footage, an eerily unsettling soundtrack and good perfs, this oblique Gallic exercise in pretension is unlikely to say "bon jour" to auds anywhere outside the fest circuit. Helmer Arnaud des Pallieres prefers very long, slow tracking shots, and even after 40 minutes, pic feels overextended.

Although “Adieu” features beautiful Super 16-shot footage, an eerily unsettling subsonic soundtrack and a clutch of good perfs, this pugnaciously oblique Gallic exercise in pretension is unlikely to say “bon jour” to auds anywhere outside the fest circuit. Helmer Arnaud des Pallieres, a documaker and shorts veteran, prefers very long, slow tracking shots, and even after 40 minutes, pic feels overextended.

Film features two very different stories, knitted together by recurring images but otherwise unconnected. The stronger, more accessible story concerns Algerian writer Ismahel (Mohamed Rouabhi) traveling illegally to France and recounting in voiceover the biblical story of Jonah in a letter to his daughter. The other story depicts the lead up to the death and burial of the youngest son of a French farming family, who is killed in an accident. (The Dardennes Bros.’ favorite actor, Olivier Gourmet, engagingly plays a cynical underwear store owner in this segment.) The refugee story has more closure; the farming family one fizzles out in a tangle of loose ends. Martin Wheeler’s layered music and sound design elevate the material somewhat.

Adieu

France

  • Production: An Arte France presentation of a Les Films d'Ici production, with participation of Conseil Regional d'Auvergne, CNC. Produced by Philippe Hagege. Directed, written, edited by Arnaud des Pallieres.
  • Crew: Camera (color), Julien Hirsh; music, Martin Wheeler; production designer, Francois Girard; costume designer, Nathalie du Rascoet. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (Filmmakers of the Present), Aug. 7, 2003. Running time: 122 MIN.
  • With: <b>With:</b> Michael Lonsdale, Olivier Gourmet, Laurent Lucas, Axel Bogousslavski, Mohamed Rouabhi, Thierry Bosc, Aurore Clement.