Friday, 1 January 2010

Plein Sud, Sebastien Lifshitz, France 2009

Plein Sud is a puzzle of a film, a prime example of non-linear story-telling, whose narrative is as complex as the mindset of its central character, Sam, wonderfully portrayed by Yannick Renier.

Jumping back and forth between today and events that took place fifteen years ago, Plein Sud is essentially the story of Sam and his coming to terms with his beloved father's suicide, witnesssed by Sam himself as a child. While it is not quite clear whether it this incident that pushed his mother over the edge or whether it was her bellicose character which prompted Sam's father to kill himself in the first place, Sam blames his mother for his father's death and unable to forgive her, he harbours a deep-rooted resentment against her.

Plein Sud is all about how our experiences as children shape us as adults, for unable to get over his father's death and equally unable to forgive his mother, Sam's love-life is troubled, to put it mildly. Carrying on a torrential affair with a younger man, Sam is incapable to accept the love Matthieu offers him and as a result, Matthieu becomes a victim of Sam's unresolved emotional traumas. As Lifshitz's film opens with Lea, Matthieu's sister, considering having an abortion, Plein Sud is also reminder of the responsibility that is invariably part of raising a child, a responsibility Sam's parents did not rise up to: for while the maternal qualities of Sam's mother are definitely lacking, Sam's father is just as much of a failure for dodging his paternal responsibiity by committing suicide.