Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jeanne Moreau, Hippolyte Girardot, Emmanuelle Devos, Dominique Blanc, Denise Aron-Schropfer, Daniel Duval, Jan Oliver Schroeder
Written by: Amos Gitai, Dan Franck, Marie-Jose Sanselme, based on a book by Jérôme Cléments
Directed by: Amos Gitai
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Language: French, with English subtitles
Running Time: 90
Date: 02/11/2008

One Day You'll Understand (2008)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

A Mother's Secret

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Israeli director Amos Gitai (Kippur, Free Zone) can be one of the world's most graceful and effective filmmakers, but he's equally susceptible to ham-fisted episodes, and his new film One Day You'll Understand (a.k.a. Plus tard) is one of them. It's 1987, during the time of the Klaus Barbie trials. Jeanne Moreau -- at 80, she's by far the most striking creature in the film -- stars as Rivka a grandmother who refuses to talk about her past with her grown son, Victor (Hippolyte Girardot). Victor is obsessed with the Holocaust and wants to find out what happened to his grandparents. In the first 20 minutes or so, we get all the information we need from Moreau's performance. She deftly evades questions and we get a sense of the pain and denial involved in her long life. (She also collects many revealing, symbolic knick-knacks.) Then, Gitai spends the rest of the film awkwardly filling in all the details that we already suspect. Gitai loves using long takes, and I love watching them, but here they only drag out the inevitable. It doesn't help that none of the cast has anywhere near the appeal and power of Moreau (did she really spawn this uninteresting family?). Too bad this wasn't a short film...

DVD Details: Kino's 2009 DVD release comes with a stills gallery and a theatrical trailer.

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