Screened as part of NZIFF 2014

In the Courtyard 2014

Dans la cour

Directed by Pierre Salvadori World

Two anxious old souls – one of them not so old in years – find friendship in this funny and touching tale of Paris tenement life starring Catherine Deneuve and Gustave Kervern.

France In French with English subtitles
97 minutes CinemaScope / DCP



Philippe Martin


Pierre Salvadori
David Colombo-Leotard


Gilles Henry


Isabelle Devinck

Production designer

Michel Barthelemy

Costume designer

Virginie Montel


Brigitte Taillandier


Stephin Merritt
Gregoire Hetzel


Catherine Deneuve (Mathilde)
Gustave Kervern (Antoine)
Feodore Atkine (Serge)
Pio Marmaï (Stéphane)
Michele Moretti (Colette)
Nicolas Bouchaud (Mr Maillard)
Oleg Kupchik (Lev)
Garance Clavel (Antoine’s ex)
Carole Franck (temp agency woman)


Berlin 2014


A lively rapport between the regal Catherine Deneuve and the gentle-bearish Gustave Kervern lends warmth and charm to this tragicomedy of Paris tenement life. She is Mathilde, living on the top floor, recently retired and so unsure of what to do with herself that her husband Serge (Feodor Atkine) is concerned for her sanity. When they interview Antoine (Kervern) for the position of building custodian, Serge is unimpressed by his lack of focus or prior qualifications, but Mathilde considers he’d make a refreshing change and Serge gives in.

They are both right. As a custodian Antoine is rubbish: he turns a blind eye to courtyard comings and goings that outrage the more law-abiding residents. But he becomes friend and confidant to the anxious Mathilde, and she to him. Best known for pacey comedies, director Pierre Salvadori brings his light touch to more substantial themes here.

“Now in her eighth decade, Deneuve’s late-career evolution into France’s most glamorous character actress continues apace… In the Courtyard makes a poignant virtue of the contrast between the actress’s lioness-like physical presence and the modest stature of her careworn character; it’s the network of worry lines in that marvellous face, as much as its enduring beauty, that interests Salvadori and cinematographer Gilles Henry. Also playing against type, in a sense, is Kervern, a name associated with more manically eccentric comedy than this kind of soft-shoe diversion. As such, he brings a necessary frisson of danger to a story that suggests the capacity for madness in even the most staid of lives.” — Guy Lodge, Variety

Screening With This Feature

Pigeon 2014


9 minutes

An elderly widow (Kate Harcourt) defies the world of modern convenience in order to satisfy her hunger. Screening with In the Courtyard