Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro (The Snows of Kilimanjaro) (Version française)
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Michel is an honest union rep who has the unenviable job of deciding which of his workers will be laid off. Settling on a lottery system, he puts his own name in the box and ends up out of a job. When Michel and his closest friends fall victim to a violent home invasion, he is compelled to find the assailants, but what he uncovers forces him to question his entire belief system.
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There's no reference to subtitles in the product description so I'm reluctant to purchase until I can be sure.
I saw this wonderful movie at the Melbourne French Film Festival but have been awaiting a DVD release with English subtitles. Hopefully this will be it.
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Set in today's Marseille, the film follows the story of a downsized union reprehensive Michel (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) and his wife Marie-Claire (Ariane Ascaride). One day Michel, Marie-Claire, her sister Denise (Marilyne Canto) and Denise's husband Raoul (Gérard Meylan) are attacked by two masked robbers, who take away the money and the tickets for a trip to Africa. Later Michel by chance discovers the identity of one of the robbers - it was Christophe, a young worker Michel happened to have worked with before they were forced to leave their jobs.
"Les neiges du Kilimandjaro" poses an important question as to one on-going social issue, namely the increasing class division in our society, especially the one between the young and the old, but the solution suggested in the decisions Marie-Claire and Michel make independently are too unrealistic and sentimental. They look more like some kind-hearted gentlemen often seen in Victorian novels. The storytelling is melodramatic and some characters look almost like caricature portraits.
Or maybe the director is aware of the film's own weakness. Michel, a former union representative, knows younger people may think his lifestyle is that of Bourgeois. Here the film gives insight into the topic it deals with, and several characters of the younger generation - Michel's two children Gilles and Flo, and of course, Christophe - ALMOST speak out what they think, but the film moves on without giving them much time to do so. It is a pity that there is a real drama between the conflict, which the director Guédiguian shows, but never explores.
Beautifully shot in the city of Marseille (where the director is born), "Les neiges du Kilimandjaro" attempts to describe the ordinary people as they are. The attempt succeeds to some extent, but the effect is undermined by the too sentimental treatment of the subject matter.
She works as a carer and they have their children and grand children whom they love. Then after being given a gift of cash, for their anniversary, they are attacked and robbed in their own home. There are physical and mental scars that are going to take time to heal. Then they find their attacker and the shock is deepened when Michel realises he is an ex co worker. What happens next is a journey through revenge, pain and ultimately redemption.
I was totally swept up in this film, there is so much love and positivity that you simply have to go along with it. The way in which they deal with their position is really heart warming, but to say any more could be a plot spoiler. All the performances are top notch and the cinematography is superb.
This is obviously in French with very good sub titles and a run time of 107 minutes and every single one of them is well used. It is the sort of film that does not come along often enough - absolutely recommended.