Tuesday, July 10, 2018

DVDebut: Denis Dercourt's low-key but lovely and moving comeback tale, IN HARMONY

A dozen years ago French actors Cécile De France and Albert Dupontel delighted international audiences with their special chemistry and charm in Danièle Thompson's wonderful ensemble piece, Avenue Montaigne. How very nice to see these two fine actors together again in the leading roles of Denis Dercourt's 2015 film (just now getting a U.S. DVD release), IN HARMONY (En équilibre). This is one of those quiet, low-key movies about us humans that the French do so very well.

As directed and with a screenplay adapted (from the memoir of his career by stuntman/equestrian Bernard Sachse and Véronique Pellerin) by M. Dercourt (shown at right), the movie unfolds with an easy, graceful flow that never pounds home any point or moral, even as it keeps us wondering exactly where it might be going.

The same year that Avenue Montaigne appeared, M: Dercourt gave us a splendid and low-key psychological thriller about career and revenge entitled The Page Turner. That film, as does this one, also kept us guessing about outcome and motive -- though in a completely different genre.

After equestrian/stuntman Marc Guermont (played by Dupontel, above and below) is involved in an accident on a movie set, he is left in a wheelchair, with his stuntman career suddenly cut short. (Names have been changed here, either to protect certain reputations or to better make this a fictionalized account)

A visit from the woman from the insurance company (Ms De France, below) that represents the movie studio sets in motion a tale that encompasses everything from accepting responsibility to past and future career choices to making the best of a not-so-hot situation.

How the filmmaker weaves all this together -- loosely but lovingly, without pushing any moment or any moral too hard -- turns the film into a particularly quiet and thoughtful meditation on how our lives and careers, from generation to generation, find their way to fulfillment. It is also an odd kind of love story -- consummated only briefly and then left as memory.

The love of horses is deeply felt here, and those who feel the same should embrace the movie thoroughly. Ms De France has a lovely scene in which her character mounts a horse for the first time, and the actress is, as always, spot-on from moment to moment.

Dupontel, as ever the consummate man's man, brings his whole arsenal of feelings to the fore, even as music and piano playing enter the picture and help bring the movie's themes to fruition.

This is not a great film by any means, but it is a good, solid one -- providing 87 minutes well spent. From Distrib Films US with its DVD arriving via Icarus Films Home Video, In Harmony hits the street today, Tuesday, July 10 -- for purchase or rental.

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