I have a had a life-long love of the arts; enjoying theatre, ballet, art and movies. We are all time poor and have limits to our entertainment budget so I hope an honest review will help make your choices easier.
Published July 18th 2018
Back to Burgundy, now showing at Dendy Cinemas, is a gentle journey through family trauma and reconciliation. The story is made richer and more engaging by the setting, a beautiful French vineyard.
After hearing that his father is ill, Jean (Pio Marmai), an estranged older brother, travels home to his family's French vineyard to reunite with his sister (Ana Girodot) and brother (Francios Civil). When their father passes, the siblings must negotiate death taxes and the division of their inheritance - a sad journey which can easily destroy their family and legacy.
While family conflicts and the burdens of rural life are explored, the film does not indulge these dramas for entertainment's sake. Rather, this is a sweet and gentle film. Back to Burgundy quietly explores childhood in the French countryside - where education for the young extends to the art of wine tasting and production. Then it focuses on how siblings redefine their relationships as adults; negotiating parental death and adult responsibilities. All this is set against the romance of wine-making and the gentle but persistent rhythm of life on the land, where daily life is dominated by the seasons.
Through Jean, we also visit the age-old struggles of teenagers, where a parents' faults seem magnified and the outside world seems totally alluring. Distressed by his father's perceived harshness and lack of excitement growing up on a French vineyard, Jean runs away and cuts himself off from his family for 10 years. On returning home, he realises what he has missed; he now longs for a family, connection with the land and the artistic expression of making wine. I must admit, while I understood this teenage angst, it was pretty hard to feel sorry for Jean. From my perspective, this was the childhood and life many dream of. Nonetheless, his character is well fleshed out; his ability to love and care for his own child and siblings leaves you hoping for a happy ending.
Back to Burgundy is a film for lovers of all things French. The story, while not unique, is enchanting and the acting while not award-winning was engaging. However, the real winner for this film was the cinematography and editing - the audience is taken on a pleasant journey with a divine view.
Directed by Cedric Klapisch, this comedic drama is a great way to spend a cold July afternoon/evening. Filmed in French with English subtitles it runs for 1h 53min.