Magazine article Screen International

'Valley of Love': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Valley of Love': Review

Article excerpt

Dir/scr. Guillaume Niclous. France, 2015. 92 mins.

It is thirty-five years since Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert last appeared on screen together in Maurice Pialat's Loulou. Their fond reunion is one of the great attractions of Guillaume Nicloux's Valley Of Love. They have the tender complicity of war veterans bound together by old wounds and half-forgotten skirmishes. The affectionate rapport between the actors and their characters is evident in every scene and manages to transport the wary viewer through an odd but not unappealing mixture of mystical road movie and family psychodrama that often threatens to become a Death Valley Don't Look Now or, heaven forfend, a California Sea of Trees.

The star duo should be enough of a lure for arthouse audiences although based on the reception at the first press screening at Cannes, Valley Of Love will receive mixed critical support at best.

It is impossible not to read a good deal of off-screen history into Valley Of Love. Guillaume Nicloux dedicates the film to his father Alain, Depardieu plays an actor called Gerard whose son is dead and Huppert plays Isabelle. There is a playful blurring of actors and characters. An American holidaymaker asks Gerard for an autograph and he obliges, signing it from Bob De Niro. Isabelle is asked which one of the two of them is more famous in France.

They have both arrived in the suffocating heat of Death Valley, California to fulfil a request from their son Michael who committed suicide six months earlier. …

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