Venice Film Festival review: The Truth

Hirokazu Kore-Eda has been writing and directing supremely humane, insightful dramas for 20 years, to greater and greater acclaim: last year’s Shoplifters won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and was nominated for the best foreign language film Oscar. Now, he’s made his first film outside of Japan, The Truth (or La Verité), which opens this year’s Venice Film Festival. Not much has been lost in translation. It’s certainly lighter and breezier than usual: more likely to make you laugh, but less likely to make you cry. In his Japanese work, the characters tend to be one wrong move away from destitution and/or death, whereas in his new laidback farce they don’t seem to risk anything worse than a hangover brought on by too much expensive brandy. But Kore-Eda’s understanding of the complexities of familial love and the disappointments of middle age is as wise as ever.

20多年来,日本导演是枝裕和一直在创作和导演极富人情味、见解深刻的戏剧,并赢得了越来越多的赞誉:去年的《小偷家族》在法国戛纳电影节上获得了金棕榈奖,并被提名奥斯卡最佳外语片奖。现在,他在日本以外拍的第一部电影――《真相》(La Verité)在今年的威尼斯电影节上首映。这部影片比他以往的作品更加轻快:更容易令你发笑,不太可能让你哭。在他的日语作品中,人物总是想要远离贫困和/或死亡。然而,在这部新片中,人物所面临的风险顶多就只是喝了昂贵的白兰地带来的宿醉而已。但是,是枝裕和对家庭之爱的复杂性和中年时期的失望的理解一如既往地明智。

There is nothing to alert you, either, that The Truth wasn’t written and directed by someone who was born and bred in France. Having previously made nothing but Japanese films, Kore-Eda has gone on to make a film which is about as French as you can possibly get. Most of it is set in a spacious old house with a leafy garden in Paris; its subject is the resentments between bourgeois relatives; it doesn’t stint on the wine, cheese, crepes and accordions; and it stars two of French cinema’s grandest grande-dames, Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche.

而且,你也看不出来《真相》这部电影不是一个在法国出生和长大的人编剧的和导演的。之前只拍过日本电影的是枝裕和,现在又拍了一部关于法国的电影。影片大部分场景设置在巴黎一座宽敞的老房子里,有一个绿树成荫的花园;其主题是中产阶级亲人之间的怨恨;酒、奶酪、薄饼和手风琴在影片中大量出现。它由两位法国电影史上最伟大的女演员主演,凯瑟琳・德纳芙(Catherine Deneuve)和朱丽叶・比诺什(Juliette Binoche)。

Deneuve plays Fabienne, an actress who could easily be mistaken for Deneuve herself: a Cesar-winning veteran who wears a leopard-print coat and has a framed poster of a film called The Belle of Paris (ie almost Belle de Jour). The secret of her success, she believes, is that she prioritises art over life. Acting comes first; her dog comes second; her husbands, children and colleagues tie for last place. But in her newly published memoirs she presents herself as a devoted mother who cared about nothing more than her daughter, Lumir (Binoche), now a New York-based screenwriter. Lumir remembers her childhood very differently, so she brings her husband (Ethan Hawke) and daughter to Paris so that she can establish C yes C the truth.

德纳芙扮演法比安(Fabienne),一位身穿豹纹大衣的凯撒奖得主,并且她还有一张叫做《巴黎美人》(The Belle of Paris)的电影海报。这个角色设计很容易被误认为是德纳芙本人,德纳芙曾经演出过一部叫《白日美人》(Belle de Jour)的电影。法比安认为,成功的秘诀是把艺术置于生活之上。表演是排在第一位的,狗是了第二位,而丈夫、孩子和同事并列最后。但在她新出版的回忆录中,把自己描绘成一个好妈妈,除了女儿卢米尔(Lumir,比诺什饰)以外什么都不关心。卢米尔现在是一名在纽约工作的编剧,她所记得的童年与回忆录中的描述非常不同,所以她和丈夫(伊森・霍克(Ethan Hawke)饰)、女儿一起来到巴黎,理清事情的“真相”。

Pinning down Fabienne isn’t easy: she always has someone else to talk to or someone else to think about (usually herself). Her partner, her personal assistant, her ex-husband and a pet tortoise come and go, and Fabienne herself is busy shooting a cameo in a science-fiction movie called ‘Memories of My Mother’ C an adaptation, incidentally, of a published story by Ken Liu. The premise of this film-within-a-film is that the mother (Anne Hathaway-ish newcomer Manon Clavel) is terminally ill and has to live in space, where she doesn’t age. She visits her daughter Amy once every seven years, so while the mother stays forever young, her daughter keeps ageing. At 38 Amy is played by Ludivine Sagnier’s actress character Anna, and at 73 she is played by Deneuve’s.

牵制住法比安并不容易:她总是有其他人可以倾诉,或是把时间花在自己身上。她的伴侣、私人助理、前夫和一只宠物乌龟来来去去,而她也正忙于一部名为《母亲的回忆》(Memories of My Mother)的科幻电影中演出――顺便说一句,这是一部美籍华裔科幻作家刘宇昆作品改编的故事。这部“戏中戏”讲述了一位因身患绝症而不得不生活在太空中的母亲,在那里她不会衰老。她每7年会去看女儿艾米一次,当母亲永远年轻的时候,女儿艾米却在越来越老,在这部影片中,38岁的艾米由卢蒂文・萨尼埃(Ludivine Sagnier)饰演,73岁的艾米则由德纳芙饰演。

This plot, of course, is a twisted reflection of Fabienne and Lumir’s real relationship (though Lumir denies it), in which contact is rare and fleeting, and in which an ever-glamorous mother lives in a world of her own. As the shooting continues, the sci-fi movie allows Kore-Eda to comment on regrets, showbusiness, performance and the difference between being a good parent and pretending to be a good parent. They are, however, the kind of comments you might make during a dinner with friends. Instead of cutting to the heart of the matter, as he does so often, Kore-Eda is content to prod and poke at it, and the film’s mild mood and leisurely pacing, its preference for hugs and dances over arguments, meant that there were moments I wished I could just watch ‘Memories of My Mother’.


Still, The Truth is always a wistful comic pleasure, and the central performances can’t be faulted. Deneuve is glorious as the casually condescending Fabienne, someone so regal that she never notices how cruel her waspish put-downs are. Binoche’s repertoire of winces and grimaces is almost as funny, and Hawke is touching as a jobbing television actor who may be trying a little too hard to be a fun dad. Kore-Eda makes them all so sympathetic that it doesn’t matter whether the film is in French, Japanese, or any other language. Anyone who has ever been a parent or had a parent will be smiling in recognition.



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