YOU WILL BE MY SON
Genre: Family drama
Rating: M 97’ Mature themes, sexual references and coarse
Cast: Niels Arestrup, Lorànt Deutsch
Director: Gilles Legrand
The heritage of a French vineyard is at stake with the chateau owner in his twilight years and feeling compelled to come to a decision about it’s succession. Rightfully, his only son should inherit, but his father believes he does not have the gift of the senses to maintain the high quality of the vineyard and he favours and construes to bequest the vineyard to one of his employee's sons who has already distinguished himself in the winemaking industry. Like a fine wine, this drama is full-bodied and complex as family secrets unfurl to reveal cruel hearted motives that cloud everyone’s judgement and lead to a dramatic conclusion.
Classically structured, Tu seras mon fils aligns itself with the dark, disheartening naturalistic novels of the XIXth c. where a man’s soul is lost to the dictates of a dehumanizing environment. Rather ironic in this case that the setting should be the terroir par excellence of civilized good taste and “joie de vivre”. Indeed, a glorious St Émilion vineyard is invested with doom as it hosts the sinister unraveling of filial dynamics…
The film centers on the pitiless master of a prestigious winery (a formidable Niels Arestrup) who favours the gifted son of his cancer stricken manager (a magnificent Patrick Chesnais whose face seems to espouse the topographical features of the land he harvests) to his own. Ensues a hateful and hurtful battle for succession not so much between the enraged natural heir and the (not so) reluctant adoptive one, but between the cruel patriarch and his begotten black sheep. Arestrup’s villainy reaches Shakespearian heights yet avoids operatic melodrama : he is cool and ferociously cutting. And Lorànt Deutsch excels as both the fragile and fruitless offspring, whose tenacious frailty is both pathetic and disarming. The gorgeous, smooth cinematography alternates looming widescreen aerial shots full of ominous beauty, with heady, dizzying close character shots. An excellent, lean, full bodied French drama, as good as they come.
Only, please, I beg that this fine, incisive vintage be not remade into a diluted Californian one. "isabelle" cinefile francofile