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Dan Carrier’s movies news: The House By the Sea; Soundscreen

14 January, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

The House By the Sea, directed by Robert Jules Guédiguian

WHEN you watch a film by French director Robert Jules Guédiguian you pretty much know what you are going to get: some social realism, characters drawn from the everyday paths of French life, situations that are applicable to all, and, more often than not, leads played by his two regular collaborators – Ariane Ascaride and Jean-Pierre Darroussin.

However, this predictability is a strength. He tells such great stories using well-honed techniques. His 19th film, The House By the Sea, tells of three siblings being reunited in the village of their birth. Their elderly father, a restaurateur, has had a stroke. Daughter Angele (Ascaride) is an actress and has not been home for 20 years. We learn her daughter drowned there while staying with her grandparents – a tragedy that has hung over them all. Waiting for her are her siblings Armand (Gerard Meylan) and Joseph (Darroussin), who has a fiancée young enough to be his daughter.

There are old faces to meet, old sores to open or heal. Angele meets a fisherman (Robinson Stevenin) who has been in love with her since they were young, adding intrigue. Guédiguian is a political animal, a little like a French Ken Loach. He was brought up on the Marseille docks – watch perhaps my favourite film of his, The Snows of Kilimanjaro, which tells a story from a place he knows so well – and with A House By The Sea, he returns to a part of France that feels very much his beat. The result is an intriguing, thoughtful piece of cinema.

I do like Soundscreen, the festival that marries cinema and music. Their offerings in 2018 were splendid, including films and performances for Lee Scratch Perry, Ray Davis and the Sleaford Mods. Insiders tell me that the line-up for this year is as impressive. Held at the Regent Street Cinema and the 100 Club, look out for a celebration of Joe Strummer.


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