Screened as part of NZIFF 2016

The Son of Joseph 2015

Le fils de Joseph

Directed by Eugène Green

“Offbeat French formalist Eugène Green delivers his most accessible work to date with this… honey-drizzled, farcically funny fable of an unhappy teenager seeking a father.” — Guy Lodge, Variety

Belgium/France In French with English subtitles
115 minutes DCP
M (offensive language and sexual references)

Director, Screenplay

Producers

Francine Jacob
,
Didier Jacob
,
Jean-Pierre Dardenne
,
Luc Dardenne

Photography

Raphaël O’Byrne

Editor

Valérie Loiseleux

Production designer

Paul Rouschop

Costume designer

Agnès Noden

With

Victor Ezenfis (Vincent)
,
Natacha Régnier (Marie)
,
Fabrizio Rongione (Joseph)
,
Mathieu Amalric (Oscar Pormenor)
,
Maria de Medeiros (Violette Tréfouille)
,
Julia de Gasquet (Bernadette)
,
Jacques Bonnaffé (peasant)
,
Christelle Prot (Philomène)
,
Adrien Michaux (Philibert)
,
Louise Moaty (actress)
,
Claire Lefilliâtre (singer)
,
Vincent Dumestre (theorbist)

Festivals

Berlin 2016

Elsewhere

Known for his peculiar human dramas concerning life, love, faith and art (The Portuguese Nun, NZIFF10), Eugène Green’s latest adds a pinch of French farce to the mix. The result is a splendid deadpan comedy infused with the director’s high intellect and unmistakable European sensibility. Centred on an emo teenager obsessed with tracking down his absentee father – a pompous publisher played by Mathieu Amalric (with an inebriated Maria de Medeiros in tow) – the plot takes a devilish turn under the influence of Caravaggio’s brooding Sacrifice of Isaac before finding warmth and edification in the boy’s friendship with a benevolent stranger (Fabrizio Rongione, a favourite of the Dardenne brothers who’ve co-produced this film). Green’s inimitable style celebrates architecture and culture through anti-realist language and performance – often self-consciously – but here it’s never been lighter nor funnier, not to mention more open to wry visual humour and playful religious subtext. Indeed, this is a film that hilariously satirises the self-importance of the art world in the same breath as quietly revering its masterpieces, and is all the more soulful for it. — Tim Wong

“Shot through with an intensely pleasurable intellectual playfulness, this is the American-born French director’s most accomplished and surprising film to date, boasting his trademark thoughtfulness and precision, yet also being almost puppyishly easy to love.” — Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

“Eccentric, graceful and utterly charming, The Son of Joseph is inertia transubstantiated into art.” — Patrick Gamble, CineVue