Movie Notes: Private Property
= 4 stars
Starring Isabelle Huppert, Jeremie Renier, Yannick Renier
Directed by Joachim Lafosse
Pascale (Isabelle Huppert) lives with her two sons Francois (Yannick Renier) and Thierry (Jeremie Renier) in a Belgian farmhouse left to them after a divorce. Their tense relationship comes to a head when Pascale decides to sell the property.
- The two brothers personify sibling rivalry – constantly on the edge of battle with each other, and Huppert’s also great as the worn-out mother, displaying a world-weariness of past events that occurred off-screen.
- All necessary drama is supplied by these three intriguing, conflicting personalities trapped in a stressful situation, bouncing their frustrations off of each other.
- Largely shot with the camera slightly away from the action, and no soundtrack. I figured it was just director Lafosse’s style, until a few abrupt shifts occur during pivotal moments near the end, and one realizes he knew exactly what he was omitting all along. The final shot is literally breathtaking in its contrast and audacity compared to all that came before, underlining the tiny perspective of this family’s world.
- Slow: takes a while to build up steam, and its eventual destination is like a watching a train wreck in slow motion.
- So minimal, it occasionally raises as many questions as it answers (do rats really hang out in ponds?)
I’ve oft mentioned preferring movies featuring strong, well acted characters trapped in a room over some big-budget nonsense like Transformers. Private Property is a good example of the former. Recommended.