Don’t watch Olivier Jahan’s Les châteaux de sable if you’re feeling emotional; it’ll leave you a wreck. But I jest…
Well, here’s the thing: death, love and conflict make for a dramatic mix and this film brews the all at a temperature that’s just right. Not so high it scalds, not so low it washes over you without comment. The main character, Eleonore, loses her father after a long illness and has to go back to Brittany to sell her bequest: his house.
While she was in Paris taking care of her father, she gets in touch with her former lover, Samuel, a teacher who is in a serious relationship with Laure. In a fit of kindness, he takes her back to the home she grew up in to wrap up her father’s estate and as the story unfolds, we learn what exactly caused the end of their relationship. That, and all the other loves and love stories that litter a long life and the management of its end.
Do you like how characters break the fourth wall in programmes such as ‘Game of Cards’? Then you’ll thoroughly enjoy how it’s utilised in the film. Between this, flashbacks, and the use of photographs (both Eleonore and her father are photographers), the film manages to expand the limits of the canvas upon which the story is told. This feature gives the feel an intimate feel and the photos drench the film with so much colour, it’s a trip down memory lane that will entertain.
The entire film questions the ideas we have about love both filial and romantic forcing the viewer to confront the ideas one has about them. Family is in the background but in a way that intrudes on whatever it is that would make is think romantic life is the be-all and end-all.
Watch it to explore some ideas you may not know you have about family and fidelity; and to luxuriate in beautiful shots.
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