Maurice Pialat’s last film (1995) is a family drama featuring a dazzling performance from his own four-year-old son, with Gérard Depardieu unforgettable as the jealous, philandering father.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2006
Pialat’s last film opens with an expectant four-year-old boy entering his mother’s bedroom, proposing they play cowboys and clambering into her bed. This little boy is played by Pialat’s son, his only child, born while Pialat was in his 60s. The boy’s pure delight at being alive is dazzling. No one is more dazzled than his on-screen father, called Gérard and played with inimitable directness by Gérard Depardieu. An absent, philandering father, he refuses to accept that he’s the displaced lover that the charming opening scene so succinctly suggests he is. For, amongst other things, Le Garçu is an acute and provocative portrait of an oversized ego punctured by the avid spontaneity of a small child. It’s also about Gérard’s difficult relationship with his dying father and his refusal to let go of the women whose love he has exhausted. A complex, suggestively unresolved film, Le Garçu is haunted by death and centred on the marvel of a child’s astounding appetite for life. — BG
“A triumphant fusion of fiction and documentary, since young Pialat does not act so much as be.” — Philip Lopate, Film Comment