A Sunday in the Country ( Bertrand Tavernier – 1984) A-

This is in the category of those movies that revolve around a family spending a day or weekend together, a few meals and things start coming up; family secrets, resentments and unsaid words. I can think of at least two other movies like that (Still Walking, A Christmas Tale) on this blog but I’m sure there a lot more. I love this style of movies. Not a lot happens yet we learn so much about the characters and their lives. Set in the early 20th century, we have the old man, Monsieur Ladmiral, a successful painter living in the country in a beautiful home with his astute long-time housekeeper, Mercédès. He is expecting his son and his family for a visit. We walk with him to the train station to greet them. He is a bit late (he thinks because the train is early, his housekeeper knows it is because he is getting old and walking slower) and runs into his son, wife and two boys as they are heading his way. The wife (he is not crazy about his daughter in law yet he is polite and nice) stops for yet another mass (“oh, she is still very devout”). They enjoy lunch, the son clearly think he is a disappointment to his dad and maybe to himself. They take aperitifs in the garden. He is not as “cool” or free-spirited as his sister, Iréne, who never visits and yet dad loves her. Of course today she does stop by, like a whirlwind of energy and chaos as everyone was taking their afternoon nap. She drives a car, works in the city, and also deeply privately sad in her own way. Ladmiral himself, on a long walk and stop at a café with Irene is not without regrets. He is a successful artist and seems to have built a nice life from his painting but he also is no new-modernist or impressionists that are all the rage now. None of those people are terribly bad or really unhappy with major issues. A Sunday in The Country shines a light at a set of complex an interesting human beings with their ups, downs and complex emotions both said and unsaid.

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