In 1975, director Nicolas Philibert was a young assistant to film-maker Rene Allio. Together, they made 'I Pierre Riviere, Having Slaughtered My Mother, My Sister and My Brother' a little-seen film based on the disturbing true story of a peasant who murdered his family in 1835. All the main parts in 'I Pierre Riviere' were played by non-professional actors from Normandy. Here thirty years after the film's release, Philibert takes his camera back to the region to learn about the lives of its stars during the intervening years. Weaving through time - between 1975, and the present time, and the nineteenth century, Philibert creates yet another captivating documentary.
"Real Life" including the boring bits
- Back to Normandy review by Kurtz
After the success and controversy of “Etre et Avoir”, Nicolas Philibert decided to go for a lower key (not to mention obscure!) subject for his next film- remembering an early job as an assistant director of a film that told the story of a nineteenth-century murder and the legal battles that surrounded it, he goes back and interviews many of the non-professional cast some thirty years after the film to assess its impact on their lives. Not exactly “Die Hard 5”, but the film again shows Philibert’s skill as a documentary maker- his camera work is so still and his interviewing so unobtrusive that his subjects open up and you get some touching moments of “real” life. However,the squeamish would be well advised to keep the remote at hand when he follows one of his subjects to his pig farm and films him slaughtering a pig armed only with a mallet and a breadknife…..
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Gentle & compelling
- Back to Normandy review by SH
Thanks goodness for Canal & Channel 4- it would be extremely difficult to imagine projects like this getting funding from any major studio. A strange choice of subject apparently- a documentary looking at the amateurs who starred in a virtually unknown film made 20 years earlier- although at the end the auteur's reasons for making it fall into place. Before then we get a look at the day to day life of the aforementioned in rural Normandy where on the surface things haven't changed much in the last 100 years....
Quietly compelling & never boring though don't expect any thrills & spills, The 12 certificate is almost certainly due to the scenes of animal slaughter which appear genuine.