Father of My Children (image 1)

A triumph of simplicity and understatement... and a cautionary tale for anyone who fancies being a producer.

Jonathan Romney, Sight & Sound

Screened as part of NZIFF 2010

Father of My Children 2009

Le père de mes enfants

Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve

This moving family drama from a young woman writer/director takes shape around the absence of a charismatic, workaholic film producer husband and father. “Vividly authentic… an extraordinarily humanistic drama.” — LA Times

France In French with English subtitles
110 minutes

Director, Screenplay

Producers

Philippe Martin
,
David Thion
,
Oliver Danian

Photography

Pascal Auffray

Editor

Marion Monnier

Production designer

Mathieu Menut

Costume designer

Bethsabée Thiercelin

With

Chiara Caselli (Sylvia)
,
Louis-Do de Lencquesaing (Grégoire)
,
Alice de Lencquesaing (Clémence)
,
Alice Gautier (Valentine)
,
Manelle Driss (Billie)
,
Eric Elmosnino (Serge)
,
Sandrine Dumas (Valérie)
,
Dominique Frot (Bérénice)
,
Djamshed Usmonov (Kova Asimov)

Festivals

Cannes (Un Certain Regard), Toronto, Pusan, London 2009; New Directors/New Films, San Francisco 2010

Elsewhere

It’s a rare reviewer anywhere who has not been caught up by this persuasively acted portrait of a charismatic, workaholic, art-house movie producer, and the tragic consequences of his business failure for his wife and children. What’s remarkable, and very much to the credit of director Mia Hansen-Løve’s non-judgemental, closely observant style, is how differently people have related to her absorbing and emotional film. Many male reviewers have read it as a corrective view of the most thankless, vilified role in the movie industry. Kate Muir in The Times, quoted below, saw it otherwise. Maybe Kenneth Turan best summed up Hansen-Løve’s achievement in his LA Times review, “This film places us in the company of characters who are so finely calibrated and accurately portrayed that we forget they are not truly real.” — BG

“There is a species, mostly male, that the French refer to as les intellos: popular intellectuals worshipped for their charm and genius. So when the 29-year-old director Mia Hansen-Løve decided to make Father of My Children… the surprise came when the hagiography turned into a quiet evisceration. The film is a deep-mining of the Paris bourgeoisie: their country houses, their books, their grammatical correctness. Hansen-Løve wrote the script after the suicide of a friend and film producer [Humbert Balsan], and it shows what happens when men favour art over life. The depiction of the grieving producer’s wife and children is agonising in its truth. Louis-Do de Lencquesaing plays the father, and his real-life daughter Alice makes an intelligent, disaffected teenager.” — Kate Muir, The Times