PEAUX DE VACHES (1989) [Feature]

France (MIFF 1990 )
Director: Patricia Mazuy

IN HER FIRST FEATURE FILM as director, Patricia Muzay brings a tense and menacing atmosphere to this story of the confrontation between two brothers, Roland (Jean-Francis Steventn) and Gerard (Jacques Spiesser) ten years after a fatal incident for which the elder brother Roland was sent to jail Their meeting brings back profound feelings of guilt and affection, but also forces a wedge between Gerard and his wife Annie (Sandnne Bonnaire), who is unaware of their common past Mazuy's handling of this relatively conventional material is what marks the film as special — an uncomfortable knife-edge tension runs through the film, which centres not only on the causes of the conflict but its unpredictable consequences

Mazuy says there are two principal reasons she began work on the film One was to write a role for Stevenin that would make him afraid and in which he could move without being understood, as in the formidable part he played in Une Chambre En Ville The other reason was to make a film that takes place in the country "Like many, I originate from the country and too often I am annoyed to see caricatures of peasants in films "

As far as the central relationship between the two brothers is concerned, Mazuy wanted one of them to be a peasant of 1989 with the fears and complications of a modern being "I wanted it so that the other hates the earth and its labours, even though it is his descent like myself, who will not know until I return whether I like or detest the country"

It is the character played by Bonnaire, who once again turns in a great performance, who guides much of the drama She unquestiomngly lives a solitary life in the country and is as ignorant as the viewer at the beginning of the film of what has taken place earlier But as the brothers force themselves into their insupportable positions of guilt, shame and fear, she embraces life and tries to achieve the goals she has planned both consciously and unconsciously -(PKa)

Select Festival

Search the film archive