Mia Hansen-Løve made an impressive debut with her 2007 feature Everything Is Forgiven. Her follow-up is a striking leap forward – confident, sophisticated and emotionally insightful. The film is inspired by the life and tragic death of revered French producer Humbert Balsan: the Balsan figure here is Grégoire (de Lencquesaing), whose chaotic wheeler-dealer lifestyle masks a profound devotion to the cause of uncompromising art cinema. The film’s first half shows the chain-smoking Grégoire tirelessly troubleshooting projects for his beleaguered company, including a collaboration with a high-maintenance Swedish auteur. But when Grégoire’s reserves, financial and emotional, reach a dramatic cracking point, his wife Sylvia (Caselli) and three daughters are forced to cope with the outcome. This is, quite simply, one of cinema’s finest tributes to its own virtues and vicissitudes – and also, without a doubt, one of the most moving.
Jonathan Romney, London Film Festival Programme
Chiara Caselli, Louis-Dode Lencquesaing, Alice de Lencquesaing