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aka - Tu Seras Mon Fils
France 2011
Directed by
Giles Legrand
102 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Sharon Hurst
3.5 stars

You Will Be My Son

Paul de Marseul (Niels Arestrup) is a renowned French winemaker. He has been producing much-lauded wines for years with the help of his vineyard manager Francois Amelot (Patrick Chesnais), who is now diagnosed with a terminal illness. Paul’s son, Martin (Laurant Deutsch), is eager to be given a go in the wine-making department but his father feels the young man doesn’t have the qualities to be a top winemaker. When Francois’ son, Philippe (Nicolas Bridet), turns up from his vineyard in California, Paul decides that he will be his successor, setting in train a series of escalating familial conflicts.

Paterfamilias Paul de Marseul is a cold-hearted and extremely unlikeable character, so set against his son that he won’t even pose for a father/son photo for an interviewing journalist. Everything that Martin does is seen negatively in his father’s eyes, including not having yet created a grandchild with his outspoken wife, Alice (Anne Marivin), with whom he shares a home located on the wine estate. Some backstory is provided, partly explaining that Paul’s own father barely noticed him, but it did little to soften my feeling for the nasty old man.

In confronting questions of parental obligation the style of story-telling of Legrand’s film is aptly realistic and the narrative packs a real punch, thanks to the excellent scripting of dialogue which gives a palpable credibility to the fraught relationships between the four men.

As well as giving us such juicy issues to chew over, the film also nicely demonstrates the workings of a wine estate with some fascinating scenes of harvesting and the processing of the fruit.  Unfortunately, outspoken though Alice is, women don’t figure prominently in this tale of inheritance, masculine pride and, dare I say, some very sour grapes.




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