My Mother's Castle
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After a special summer in the country, a family returns for Christmas. Here, the young son learns to appreciate his mother.
Genre: Foreign Film - French
Release Date: 7-SEP-2004
Media Type: DVD
The second part of Yves Robert's filming of Marcel Pagnol's childhood memoirs completes the narrative so casually begun in My Father's Glory--and fulfills a radiant journey we hadn't even realized we'd embarked on. Marcel is approaching his teens and acquiring a more coherent sense of the world. Accordingly, My Mother's Castle boasts a more concentrated style and unspools its story over (mostly) the space of one year, as opposed to a dozen. Whereas in the first film Robert had worked entirely with little-known players who simply became Marcel's family, here he calls upon screen veterans Jean Rochefort, Jean Carmet, and Georges Wilson to flesh out sharply ironical figures who loom challengingly on the young man's horizon. Consistent with Pagnol's emphasis on Provençal locations, the focal event of the film becomes the weekly walk the Marseilles-based family makes from the trolley station to their remote country cottage--a quintessentially mundane ritual that comes to be fraught with wonder, delight, and terror. It all leads to a payoff that opens the meaning of the title only as the film is reaching its transcendent conclusion. --Richard T. Jameson
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As an American one is struck by the rigorous rules and regulations that existed in France and probably still exist, where even the salary scale for the working masses is publicly known and 'engraved in granite', and one has great respect for and fear of nonsecterian authority, the result of the extremely bloody and hard won revolution more than 100 earlier... One also marvels at the rigid class distinction between regular 'republican' folks ( citizens of the French republic, NOT belonging to the republican party ) and 'the rich'.
Life is good to the family and an adventure and there are wonderful humorous moments, and there are laughs and we enjoy their good fortune, ranging from attaining a scholarship to the 'lycee' to advancement in the father's career, but only too soon, as Pagnol puts it so succinctly, "time passes and makes life's wheel turn like that of a windmill"............and......"such is the life of man, a few moments of joy quickly obliterated by unforgettable sorrow........." but it seems to me, Pagnol had more than a few moments of happiness in his childhood...
....There is a surprising ending to the story which is almost uncanny. The proverbial wheels of life/fate do seem to turn in strange mysterious ways sometimes.
I recommend this product and the seller. It is hard to find copies that offer several language choices for the subtitles.