Tuesday 12 April 2011

Audience favourite: My Afternoons with Margueritte

On the last afternoon of the Borderlines Film Festival we were treated to the Best of Festival Screenings. In other words, the films which the Borderlines audience had voted as their favourites and which could be shown again for the benefit of those who did not have the opportunity to see them earlier in the Festival. The two films voted favourites were Of Gods and Men and My Afternoons with Margueritte.

In the queue at the Courtyard bar,waiting to order a cup of coffee and a slice of Bakewell tart before My Afternoons with Margueritte, I bumped into Barbara to whom I had last spoken after Just War. She looked very thoughtful and told me she had just seen Of Gods and Men and commented that it had "beautiful photography and was very moving, but it had not been easy to watch".

By contrast, My Afternoons with Margueritte was endlessly delightful. Gerard Depardieu's Germain, though poorly educated and regarded as "thick" by his friends, responds to the bookish 95-year old Margueritte. The affection that they feel for one another helps to change both of their lives and culminates in an almost fairytale ending.

While their unlikely friendship forms the central core of this film there is a cast of other characters who provide a colourful backdrop of village life in the Charente-Maritime. Germain's girlfriend Annette who drives the local bus, Francine who runs the bar and is infatuated with the much younger Youssef and Germain's cruel and unhinged mother.

Leaving the Studio cinema we all agreed that My Afternoons with Margueritte was the perfect way to end our Borderlines fortnight - as we walked into the sun-filled lobby with smiles on our faces and lightness in our steps.

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