AU REVOIR LA-HAUT aka SEE YOU UP THERE | French Film Festival

The Alliance Française French Film Festival is an absolute treat for lovers of French cinema. The festival, now in its 29th year, brings the most incredible, contemporary films to Australian screens – many of which will be the Australian premieres, some of which will be World Premieres. This year’s festival features a brand new and timely LGBTI section, which will include some incredible films to celebrate the recent ‘YES’ vote for same-sex marriage and the 40th Mardi Gras Festival. Featuring the festival’s standout young actor, , stunning cinematography and beautiful costume design, AU REVOIR LA-HAUT was a great teaser for the festival. Kernel Emma was lucky to attend a pre-screening of this fine movie that has plenty of sessions still available before the festival ends on March 27th in Australia.

I have tickets to see the third instalment in the Belle et Sebastien series because the first two are two of the best children’s films I have seen and will now be getting tickets to this because it looks dark and whimsical and emulates the visual style of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, whom I worship. AU REVOIR LA-HAUT aka SEE YOU UP THERE is rated MA15+ and runs for 117mins. Get your tickets HERE for the Sydney Festival and for the festival that tours the rest of the country. Enjoy Emma’s review………all the best…….Le Popcorn Salé.

 

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AU REVOIR LA-HAUT SYNOPSIS:

THE FIRST HALF

It’s 1918, several days before the Armistice. Many men have perished, many men remain shells of their formers selves. Those men who have survived the war are losing hope, and their leaders remain as sadistic as when the war began. In one final, wildly unnecessary attempt to continue the fight, French Lieutenant Pradelle () sends his men forward for one last battle. At the same time Albert Maillard (), an older accountant, has his life saved by Edward Pericourt (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart), a young, quirky artist. In doing so, Pericourt takes an almost fatal hit, losing a significant part of his lower face. Remarkably, he survives the blast and the two men leave the war to return home.

Heavily traumatised, the two unlikely friends, who are forever connected by the memories of war, attempt to create a life for themselves in post-war Paris. The horrific memories haunt Pericourt every day. He is almost unable to speak and deeply ashamed of his scarred face. The only thing that seems to get him through the trauma is his love of art – and his addiction to morphine. Edward Pericourt decides to swap identities with a dead man and live in hiding. His family is left to deal with the grieving process, with very few answers about his death. Maillard is dedicated to looking after his friend; working in whatever odd job he can find to bring in money to support the two.

 

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THE SECOND HALF

All is not as grim and tragic as it sounds. Pericourt is a fantastic artist. He paints beautiful pictures and he creates bold and quirky masks to conceal his face. He also uses the masks as a means to manage his trauma. Some days he plays an eccentric character who dances, other days he turns the smile on his mask upside down. He is also a very kind, sincere man, befriending a young girl who understands him like no one else. She speaks for him, providing an unusual but uplifting voice for the otherwise tortured soul.

The lieutenant returns from war, profiting from cheap mass graves for those men who perished. He is an evil person; one too sadistic for war. Not content with a life stuck behind his mask, Pericourt convinces Maillard to create a business where the two sell war fake memorials to remember the dead, and so the madness begins.

 

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AN ARTISTIC EXPLORATION OF TRAUMA

While the aftermath of war is undeniably traumatic, AU REVOIR LA-HAUT presents an artistic and refreshingly quirky interpretation of resilience, post-war politics, and the increase in creativity and artistic expression. Pericourt’s masks are a key creative component in shifting the tone from depressing to intimate and delicate. We are given more of an insight into his psyche than words would ever be able to achieve. The cinematography is visually stunning; and it’s clear from the offset that actor-director Albert Dupontel had a generous budget to work with when creating this film. Despite its chaos, post-war Paris responds to the horror of war with art, modernism and humour – an energetic combination to watch unfold.

 

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IN CONCLUSION

AU REVOIR LA-HAUT is an incredibly creative, visually stunning and intriguing film. Its heavy subject matter is cleverly managed by director Albert Dupontel’s ability to use art as a metaphor. There’s simply so much to take in and enjoy that the film flies by and the quirky plot draws you right in from the initial scene to the final sequence. This will be an absolute treat for the and no doubt will be well received by audiences and film lovers alike.

 

 

 

 

YOUR REVIEWER:

Kernel Emma is documentary mad and also loves foreign and films ! She is Salty’s honorary NooooZealanderrrr writer, but she hides out in Sydney saying sex, fush and chups to everyone’s amusement.

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.