Mia Hansen-Løve has, over the last few years, made her mark as one of France’s finest directors. Her latest, Things to Come reiterates some of the themes of her earlier films including All Is Forgiven, Father of my Children and Goodbye First Love, whilst simultaneously showing the way forward. Unlike her two last offerings, these have never before been screened in Norwegian cinemas. The largest national cinemas are now showing a retrospective programme dedicated to the French director well worth a visit.
When Mia Hansen-Løve (born 1981) debuted with All Is Forgiven in 2007, she was already an established writer for French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma and had acted in Late August, Early September (1998) and Sentimental Destinies (2000), directed by Olivier Assaya. Today, Assaya and Hansen-Løve are married with children, and each other’s most important artistic supporters. In All Is Forgiven, we first encounter Pamela as a young girl. Her father, Victor, a French author with an emerging addiction problem, and her Austrian mother Anette barely speak the same language, and even less so with each other. Their relationship ebbs and flows in step with Victor’s addiction, until Anette leaves him, taking their daughter abroad. Only years later, as a teenager, does Pamela reunite with her father in Paris. The meeting sets the tone for them both, and Hansen-Løve depicts with raw empathy the how a bond between children and parents develop over time. However, not only, a powerful story about the relationship between father and daughter – the film is also an intelligent drama about forgiveness. And thus, steers towards Hansen-Løve’s next film.
JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU’S BOoK JULIE; or, the new ELOiSE becomes the film’s central reference work.
Fluctuating. The father plays a central part also in the 2009 Father of My Children. But, in a departure from the first film, the key character is successful film producer Canvel. Despite his artistic success, he has money problems, and, surprisingly enough, ends his own life. This way, not only his children, but also his widow, are left sorting out his finances and other secrets in the aftermath of his passing. The film is based on the life of producer Humbert Balsan. Mia Hansen-Løve and Balsan agreed to work together, prior to his death. This never happened, and the film, akin to the first, reflects on family relations under pressure, but also on how far artistic ambitions can push you. Hansen-Løve’s third feature, Goodbye First Love, on the other hand, is a finely tuned coming-of-age portrayal, and perhaps closer to the director’s own experiences as a woman. Fifteen-year old Camille is passionately in love with Sullivan, who leaves her to indulge his own desire for freedom and to search. Only years later, as Camille starts her architecture studies, does she recover her belief in the future and in love. She meets an older professor of architecture, played by talented, Norwegian actor Magne Håvard Brekke, and, together with him, rediscovers her place in life. The film depicts Camille’s journey from teenager to a young woman, and life’s fluidity over time.
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