Archive for August 20th, 2009


by Allan Fish

(France 1987 104m) DVD2 (France only, no Eng subs)

Aka. Grand Highway

I can see your civelle

p  Pascal Hommais, Jean-François Leppetit  d/w  Jean-Loup Hubert  ph  Claude Lecomte  ed  Raymond Guyot  m  Georges Granier  art  Farid Chaouche 

Anémone (Marcelle Lucas), Richard Bohringer (Pelo Lucas), Antoine Hubert (Louis), Vanessa Guedj (Martine), Christine Pascal (Claire, Louis’ mother), Raoul Billerey (priest), Pascale Roberts (Yvonne), Marie Matheron (Solange), Daniel Railet (Simon), André Lacombe (Hippolyte),

In itself you’d be forgiven for dismissing Le Grand Chemin as just another of those French films about childhood, about long summer holidays in the country, getting into scrapes, and all the high jinks that come with it.  Well, yes, it is that, yet it’s more besides.  Take the plot…

            It’s set in the summer of 1958.  Louis is a nine year old boy who is being taken by his mother to stay with friends of hers for the summer while she goes into preparation for having her second child.  It’s clear pretty soon that she’s now a single parent, that Louis’ father has left her, and that she’s doing the old trick of lying to her son to stop him thinking the worst (oh for the days when parents did that, rather than using their children as receptacles for their own hate).  Louis doesn’t want to go, but reluctantly is forced to stay with said friends, Marcelle Lucas and her husband Pelo.  We quickly learn that Pelo and Marcelle’s marriage has become very frosty, and it’s been that way for nine years since their child died in infancy.  She’s turned to God, he’s turned to drink in between doing the odd carpentry job, such as making coffins for the latest villager to pop his clogs.  (more…)

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