Father Of My Children (Le Père De Mes Enfants)

Another confidently-made, well-acted Paris-set drama by Mia Hansen-Løve, which is also linked to her other work by her use of location, the pace, the low-key style, the class of its characters and the subject of death (in fact I could be more specific in terms of that final link, but shouldn’t/won’t, as it will inevitably lead me down Spoiler Boulevard, which is a one-way road to Angryville). The story initially concerns an arthouse film producer with mounting debts and other pressures – the filmmakers and other professionals he deals with are awkward and demanding, with one rumoured to be based on Bela Tarr – but as the title suggests the narrative is also very much concerned with his wife and their three daughters. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the film is the way it shifts its focus from one of these characters (to the fore during the first half) to two different characters (to the fore during the second); I think it loses some momentum in doing so, but just about recovers. I think it’s a well-rounded, well-observed examination of a family’s dynamics, particularly as they exist and then change either side of a tragedy. (***½)