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Epine Dans Le Coeur/The Thorn in the Heart (Version française)

Suzette Gondry , Jean-Yves Gondry , Michel Gondry    DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product Description


The Thorn in the Heart is the most highly personal film yet from a director known for making films that show quirky human connection (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Flight of the Conchords). In this documentary, Michel Gondry has taken as subject matter his stalwart aunt Suzette, who confidently describes to the camera her historic teaching career in the French countryside. Suzette Gondry's tale is intriguing, as the director follows her from town to town to revisit decrepit schoolhouses, now overgrown with vines. She reunites with ex-students, some of them Harkis, Algerian soldiers who braved their War for Independence then settled in the region where Suzette settled. (There is also an excellent extra feature, "A Brief History of the Harkis," that furthers their roles in the film.) Starting in the 1950s, Gondry chronicles, year by year through vintage Super 8 film mixed in with new interviews of his elderly aunt, what adult life was like in tiny schoolhouses, and more profoundly, what strain this rural lifestyle placed upon relationships with her sawmill-employed husband, Jean-Guy, and her son, Jean-Yves. From here, the film takes a home-movie approach. When Gondry exposes his inner familial conflicts, one feels like a spy. Jean-Yves, a righteous model-train builder whose trains demarcate regional scene splits throughout, is obviously much more private than his mother, thereby adding to the film's overall eavesdropping sensibility. That said, while the subject matter is at times awkwardly private, the film's execution employs the viewer-friendly touches we know and love from Gondry. Animations made by Valerie Pirson, also explored further in the extra feature "Stop Motion Animation by Valerie Pirson," and a cool school-kid sequence soundtracked by Charlotte Gainsbourg renegotiate the film for a wider audience. While The Thorn in the Heart is too personal to be relevant in mainstream theaters, it gracefully illustrates Gondry's love of cinematic experimentation. --Trinie Dalton

Product Description

Le réalisateur innovateur Michel Gondry propulse encore sa filmographie dans un autre nouveau royaume avec son film documentaire intimiste L'Épine dans le coeur (The Thorn in the heart), un portrait attachant sur la vie de la matriarche de la famille Gondry, sa tante Suzette. Une ancienne institutrice dans la France rurale, Suzette a toujours eu une riche relation avec son fils, Jean-Yves. Michel, apparaissant comme l'intervieweur, et parfois modérateur tout au long du film, se sert de sa caméra pour explorer la richesse des antécédents familiaux parfois difficiles mais d'une manière subtile, sensible et humoristique.

Michel Gondry chronicles the life of Gondry family matriarch, his aunt Suzette Gondry, and her relationship with her son, Jean-Yves.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Ironically, not for hard-core Gondry fans, IMHO. July 25 2014
Not a very concerted (meaning planned out and polished) effort by the film maker but reasonably interesting storytelling.

This is not a complaint, but a heads up: This DVD is not for the North American region, so you need the right equipment to view this.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars life of Suzette Gondry June 21 2010
By R Zern - Published on Amazon.com
I was able to see this movie at SXSW this year, and I'm grateful that I had that privilege.

I really enjoy being able to look into a stranger's life and just learn random tidbits that would otherwise remain unknown. Being able to see the life of Suzette Gondry was very interesting. The film seemed like a personal movie that Michel made just for him and his family, but it was neat being able to watch this film and feel as if you're being welcomed into their lives--if even just a small part.

After learning about all the ups and downs of her life and watching the impact she has had on many people, I felt as if Suzette had been a part of my life.
1.0 out of 5 stars I like Michel Gondry, but I hate this film Dec 5 2012
By Wray L. Bowling - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I want to be nice and give this two stars in a sympathetic sort of way, but no. It's just bad. Don't waste your time. Go buy the Directors series DVDs instead, or his new one. This is just not interesting.
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