Niels Aerstrup plays the vineyard owner Paul de Marseul; his son has been off to University to study wine making and has returned with an eye to taking over. Meanwhile the head grounds man, Francois, and to be honest the guy with the real know how is dying. The harvest is due in and Paul does not think his son, Martin, is man enough for the job.
Then due to a fortuitous happening for Paul, the son of Francois returns home - hot from the vineyards of the Nappa Valley - this is Philippe. Paul wastes no time in getting him to be a bit more hands on. He soon reveals his full intentions and makes Philippe an offer to come and take his father's place. Once that does not move him he offers him instead an offer he will find more tempting than a Château Mouton -Rothschild '45.
This is heavy stuff and no one comes off looking too good. As greed and self interest are laid bare, like temptations in a Biblical tale, so do people start finding that they are not as egalitarian as they may have thought they once were. Once the tenuous truce between father son, wife and friend is broken then there can not be any going back.
I really enjoyed this film it oozes tension and smouldering resentment in a way that a full on thriller would keep you hooked. Arestrup is just excellent and can be both horribly unlikable and yet totally understandable all at the same time. His over looked son never seems to grow a pair and yet you can't help but root for him and his wife is as ineffectual as she is beautiful. There is so much going on here, like a great glass of red that I simply can not recommend highly enough - I'm off to find a cork screw.
French screenwriter, producer and director Gilles Legrand`s third feature film which he co-produced and co-wrote with French screenwriter and director Delphine de Vigan, premiered in France, was shot on locations in France and is a French production which was produced by producer Frédéric Brillion. It tells the story about a middle-aged Roman Catholic monarchist named Paul de Marseul who lives on a grand estate in Les Etourneaux in Nice, France where he runs a vineyard. When Paul`s long-time collaborator named Francois Amelot learns that he is dying from cancer, Paul`s son named Martin who works for him and lives on his estate with his wife named Alice makes himself available to take over Francois` position, but Paul doesn`t regard his son that highly and is more concerned with Martin giving him a grandson.
Distinctly and precisely directed by French filmmaker Gilles Legrand, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the two main characters` viewpoints, draws an increasingly dramatic portrayal of a seasoned wine maker who was sent away from home as a nine-year-old in the early 1950s to attend a Jesuit boarding school and who was noticed for the first time and trained by his father as a 17-year-old, and his relationship with his only child whom he thinks has a personality which is more compatible to that of his mother than to his. While notable for its distinct, atmospheric and naturalistic milieu depictions, masterful cinematography by French cinematographer and director Yves Angelo, reverent production design by production designer Aline Bonetto, costume design by costume designer Tess Hammami, film editing by film editor Andréa Sedlackova and use of sound, colors and light, this dialog-driven and narrative-driven story about a father`s resentment towards his own flesh and blood whom he likes to dictate and taunt, depicts two conflicting and heartrending studies of character and contains a timely and prominent score by composer Armand Amar.
This elegiacally atmospheric, sarcastically humerous and densely generational character piece which is set during a summer in France in the 21st century and where a French man named Philippe whom has been living in Chile for the last three years arrives at the Marseul family estate without any other reasons for his visit than to meet his father, and is embraced by his fathers` friend and associate, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, substantial character development, rhythmic continuity, unsentimental dialog, indifferently claiming and disowning comment by Paul : "I`m your father, aren`t I", the majestic acting performance by French actor Niels Arestrup and the involving acting performances by French actors Lorànt Deutsch, Nicolas Bridet, Patrick Chesnais and French actress Anne Marivin. An eloquently psychological, commandingly cinematographic and revering narrative feature.
A splendidly told family tragedy in which paternal dissatisfaction comes to a head with the owner of an important Bordeaux vineyard. The concept of a father who rather wishes another could be his son is perhaps not uncommon, but in this case we are provided with a number of back stories that suggest why things are as they are (the death of the wife and the grandfather for example). Lorànt Deutsch is very good as the loyal son desperate for paternal affection and yet so very very annoying. The denouement was not at all what I expected until the very last moment.
Extremely well acted but what a story! a father's clod-blooded hatred for his son though his reasons do appear towards the end. Hatred and, finally, vengeance. I do not think I'll watch it twice. Too sad and probably too close to some forms of real life. However, at no moment do I think there is any exaggeration in this story, though it may cross some people's mind. Life is not always what it looks!
Brilliant film. French with clear subtitles but you forget you are reading after a while as you are so engrossed. Get in the crisps, darken the room and enjoy. Hubbie, friends and teenagers loved it too.
This 2011 film co-written and directed by Gilles Legrand is not exactly earth-shattering (in terms of innovation), but its tale of family friction, jealousy and revenge, set amongst the sunny climes of southern French (Gironde) vineyards, has (just about) enough plot twists and impressive acting turns to merit (for me) a four-star rating. Of course, anything these days with Niels Arestrup’s name on it inevitably attracts my attention following his impressive turns in films such as The Beat That My Heart Skipped, A Prophet and Our Children (and even The Big Picture) and whilst Legrand’s film is not in the same league as the first three of these films, Arestrup once again turns in an impressive performance, albeit he has now been pretty much typecast as the 'silent, brooding type’, here playing the viticulturist Paul de Marseul (a role, perhaps unsurprisingly, originally intended for Gerard Depardieu), whose frustration with his 'wimpy’ son, Lorant Deutsch’s Martin, leads him to look elsewhere for a potential heir to his 'wine empire’.
Legrand’s film has a nice look and feel (mirroring its narrative similarity to Claude Berri’s Jean De Florette), with Yves Angelo’s cinematography giving us some nicely framed shots of rural idyll and local architecture, whilst Armand Amar’s score is suitably haunting (hinting that something is destined to upset this bucolic applecart). Where I found You Will Be My Son fell rather short was in its unvarying narrative trajectory – it becomes clear very early on that Paul is despairing of his son’s lack of 'wine expertise’ ('You don’t learn to make wine in college’) – a point that is unsubtly hammered home ad infinitum - and when the son of Paul’s estate manager (Patrick Chesnais’ terminally ill Francois), Nicolas Bridet’s 'real professional’ Philippe, returns to France from Napa Valley, it is crystal clear where the plot is going. Acting-wise, I found the film something of a mixed bag – Arestrup, as is his wont, underplays another (essentially) unpleasant character brilliantly – here an archetype of archaic (French) traditionalism – and each of Anne Marivan’s feisty Alice (Martin’s wife) and Chesnais’ increasingly enlightened Francois turn in impressive turns; Deutsch, on the other hand, is rather one-dimensional and struggles to convince (me at least) – it would have been interesting to see (a suitably young) Daniel Auteuil in this role.
Thus, I found the film’s middle third rather predictable and pedestrian and was pleased that Legrand did have 'another trick up his sleeve’ with a less expected twist at its conclusion. For me, therefore, by no means a classic, but worth seeing for some of the impressive acting on show.
A film that is about wine but a lot more. Winemaking is the background against which we sitness the development of a familiar story with a quirky twist. Wine is an essential part of the story because of what it represent in French culture, though the film makes surprisingly respectful reference to American wine!
The familiar story is that of a son who is programmed from birth to take over the family business, with a controlling father trying to leave his imprint on everything he does. This happens in many families, where sons take over but are not up to par. The film pushes to extreme the reaction of the father to what he sees as inadequate talent in his son. He does not really try to teach him to stand on his two feet, rather he tries to mould him in his own image. When he fails, he turns to somebody else. Does he love his wine more than his own son, whose problematic delivery killed his wife? Or does he simply recognize it would be bad for both wine and son to leave the estate to him? It is a dilemma it is not easy to get out of. And the viewer is left in a difficult position to judge the father, who eventually pays the ultimate price in an unexpected turn of events.