For his first feature since 2013’s Casse-tête Chinois (Chinese Puzzle), French filmmaker Cedric Klapisch returns to one of his favourite themes: family. Ce Qui Nous Lie (Back To Burgundy) sees Pio Marmai, Francois Civil, and Ana Girardot as three siblings whose lives intertwine once more when Jean (Marmai) rocks up to the family domaine after a decade away, having learned that his father has been taken ill. Harvest season is about to begin and the three must reconnect in order to assure that the family winery doesn’t go belly-up.
Considering Klapisch’s track record with dissecting family tensions, with the wonderful Un Air De Famille (Family Resemblances), Ce Qui Nous Lie is a lesser effort in his filmography. It’s a frustratingly familiar piece that is the sign of a filmmaker getting soft in his old age, preferring to shoot the picturesque vineyards of the Beaune area rather than to craft a convincing family drama. The three leads don’t create any believable sparks, and certainly aren’t helped by a cloying script that prefers easy sentimentality over any truly relatable conflict. The trite dialogue (“Love is like wine – it needs time”) is paired with an overabundance of flashbacks and an uninspired twee tone that makes proceedings feel interminably long. It may function as a loving and colourful look at viticulture, but ultimately the bottle’s corked. If you’re looking for a compelling French film about wine, check out Gilles Legrand’s Tu Seras Mon Fils (You Will Be My Son); if you want an inspired look into the innerworkings of family strife, you’d better dust off Un Air De Famille. You can’t go wrong with a grand cru.
Ce Qui Nous Lie (Back To Burgundy) | Directed by Cedric Klapisch (FR, 2017) with Pio Marmai, Francois Civil, Ana Girardot. Starts August 10.
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