Every year, Bruno, a disheartened cattle breeder, attends the Paris Agricultural Show. This year, his father Jean joins him: he wants to finally win the competition with their bull Nebuchadnezzar and convince Bruno to take over the family farm. Every year, Bruno makes a tour of all the wine stands, without setting foot outside the Show’s premises and without ever finishing his wine trail. This year, His father suggests they finish it together, but a real wine trail, across the French countryside. Accompanied by Mike, a young, quirky taxi driver, they set off in the direction of France’s major wine regions. Their wine tour is a highly risky venture, combining fine vintages and women encountered along the way.
Kervern and Delépine’s highly-accomplished, multi-layered, surreal comedy Saint Amour should go some way to restoring Gérard Depardieu as one of France’s greatest actors. This off-beat road movie has humour, pathos and oodles of improbable sex, set against the beautiful backdrop of France’s wine-growing regions. But it’s not all played for laughs. Underneath the male bonding, Kervern and Delépine have highlighted the real threat to France’s agricultural industry from the younger generation’s reluctance to choose farming as a career. This adds context to what is an undeniably clever, beautifully paced film – the seventh collaboration for this directing pair.
Judith Prescott (frenchcinemareview.com)
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