Screened as part of NZIFF 2016

The Country Doctor 2016

Médecin de campagne

Directed by Thomas Lilti

French box-office star François Cluzet (The Intouchables) is a doctor reluctantly introducing a younger female trainee to his country practice in this touching and funny drama from doctor-turned-director Thomas Lilti.

France In French with English subtitles
102 minutes CinemaScope/DCP
PG (offensive language)

Director

Producers

Agnès Vallee
,
Emmanuel Barraux

Screenplay

Thomas Lilti
,
Baya Kasmi

Photography

Nicolas Gaurin

Editor

Christel Dewynter

Production designer

Philippe Van Herwijnen

Costume designer

Dorothée Guiraud

Music

Alexandre Lier
,
Sylvain Ohrel
,
Nicolas Weil

With

François Cluzet (Jean-Pierre Werner)
,
Marianne Denicourt (Nathalie Delezia)
,
Isabelle Sadoyan (Werner’s mother)
,
Félix Moati (Vincent Werner)
,
Christophe Odent (Norès)
,
Patrick Descamps (Maroini)
,
Guy Faucher (Mr Sorlin)
,
Margaux Fabre (Ninon)
,
Julien Lucas (Ninon’s fiancé)
,
Yohann Goetzmann (Alexis)
,
Josée Laprun (Alexis’ mother)
,
Philippe Bertin (Guy)
,
Géraldine Schitter (Fanny)

This gentle, good-humoured film about a doctor (François Cluzet) facing illness himself and reluctantly inducting a younger city doctor (Marianne Denicourt) into his country practice has been a great hit in France. Upholding the humane values embodied by the old-style GP, it has clearly touched a vein of nostalgia which may run just as deep in New Zealand. Co-writer and director Thomas Lilti is himself a qualified medical practitioner, and not one given to sentimentality. (Anyone who saw his film Hippocrates at this year’s French Film Festival can vouch for the refreshing sense of experience that lifted it apart from standard hospital dramas.)

Cluzet (The Intouchables) is fascinating as an immensely recognisable character, single (with an adult son in Paris), wedded to his work, tacitly empathetic beneath the brusque, brooking-no-fools demeanour. Denicourt as Natalie is an excellent foil, the doctor’s match in so many ways, but shrewdly respectful of his self-defining conviction that he is irreplaceable. It’s a view clearly shared by a lively array of farming folk who parade through his surgery, or, in some of the film’s most touching and memorable scenes, usher him, doctor’s bag in hand, into their houses.

The Country Doctor finally plays out as a strongly observational character drama that suggests something about who these people are and how they deal with what’s thrown at them while also painting a convincing picture of everyday life in rural France in the 21st-century and medical care… The film bristles with humor, mostly drawn from life, and illuminating moments of irony.” — Boyd van Hoeij, Hollywood Reporter