Trailer | Arnaud Desplechin's <i><b>Un Conte De Noël</i></b>

by twhalliii
April 29, 2008 7:42 AM
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Ok, I think it is probably well known among longtime readers of thie little blog that Arnaud Desplechin is my favorite working filmmaker. I have been tracking the production of his newest film Un Conte De Noël for months now, with a first look at stills from the film and an early synopsis posted here last summer. Now that the film is in Cannes (and I have to say, is the film I am hoping will win the Palme D'Or) and is nearing its French theatrical release date, a French language trailer for the film has been posted online. Take a look:

Hope your French is better than mine... Anyway, one of the things that grabs me right away is the film's location; The city of Roubaix, the location of the Desplechin family home (as seen in L'Aimee) and a location that lends this film more than a small whiff of autobiography. I guess you could say that all of Desplechin's films carry autobiographical signifiers, but the choice of Roubaix seems to lend this film more of a direct connection than others. The movie looks like a cross between Kings and Queen and La Vie Des Morts, which features much of the same dysfunctional sibling rivalry that seems on display here. Either way, I can't wait and am hopeful that Arnaud will bring home the Palme. I can't wait to see this, hopefully in Toronto and New York this fall, and am again green with envy at those who will be headed to Cannes to catch the World Premiere. Send word!

(Thanks as always to P. for the news I love to receive...)

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  • ronald bergan | May 22, 2008 1:13 AMReply

    In Conte de Noel, Arnaud Desplechin has tried to instill new life into the well-worn formula of the family reunion. In fact, there is an echo, surely unintentional, of T. S. Eliot’s second play in which the dying mother is told, ‘Death will come to you as a mild surprise.’ Here, the dying mother is the Junoesque Catherine Deneuve, who plays a character called Junon, in a detached manner. Yet, despite the strong cast, the careful avoidance of melodrama, the often wry Rohmeresque dialogue, the film remains as traditional as its title suggests. The director seems so careful to avoid the clichés of the genre, that he only draws attention to them. The convoluted screenplay with its skeletons rattling in the kin’s closet, the dysfunctional family made up of insecure odd balls, the redemptive theme are all there. Desplechon’s efforts to trick out the mise-en-scene with lite Godardian effects such as characters addressing the camera, voice over, and quotes from literature as well as using titles, shadow puppets, irises, an eclectic choice of music from classical to jazz, to Irish and Indian melodies, and inconsequential clips from films watched by the characters on television – Max Reinhard’s film version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelsohn’s incidental music for the play is also often used on the soundtrack), Funny Face and DeMille’s 1956 The Ten Commandments (curiously dubbed into French with French subtitles) smacks of a certain desperation. It is the kind of middle-of-road film – neither too commercial nor too avant-garde – that may gain a festival prize or two, if not the Palm d’Or, and a relatively large audience.

  • Tom | May 15, 2008 4:51 AMReply


    After Un Conte De Noël, and since you are in France, you must get the DVDs of La Vie Des Morts (which is not available in the USA as of yet) and watch it, and then Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle) after that. If you like those, and I know you will, then try La Sentinelle and Esther Kahn (which I adore, but which is such a unique film, many people don't get it).

    I'm jealous; you get to see these for the first time... sigh...

  • Martin Walker | May 14, 2008 12:40 PMReply

    I love Desplechin too - after two viewings of Rois et reine, haven't seen the earlier ones yet. You don't have to trek to noisy, expensive Cannes - near here in Avignon they are showing it at the Utopia cinema from next week. I'll be going!

  • ryan werner | May 8, 2008 6:07 AMReply

    i can not wait to see it. thanks for posting the trailer!