Touch­ing in­sight into life

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH

THIS French pro­duc­tion is some­thing very dif­fer­ent and – most of the time – some­thing very spe­cial.

Be­lieve it or not, one very prom­i­nent el­e­ment of Dec­la­ra­tion of War is the love story of a cou­ple im­prob­a­bly named Romeo ( Jeremie Elkaim) and Juli­ette ( Va­lerie Donzelli).

But their union is not a doomed one, even when their only son Adam con­tracts leukaemia.

A re­mark­ably up­lift­ing ex­pe­ri­ence fash­ioned from de­cid­edly down­beat sub­ject mat­ter,

Dec­la­ra­tion of War charts the ever- shift­ing for­tunes of Romeo and Juli­ette’s re­la­tion­ship with great in­sight and ef­fort­less fa­mil­iar­ity.

There is one very good rea­son why ev­ery­thing about the picture falls into place so quickly and so con­vinc­ingly.

The two lead­ing ac­tors also wrote the screen­play. They know this tale in­side out. Their own child, Gabriel, was also gravely ill for a num­ber of years.

It is no spoiler of any kind – and a great de­light – to re­port the lad made a full re­cov­ery. In fact, Gabriel plays the role of Adam here. While guar­an­teed to play upon a viewer’s emo­tions, Dec­la­ra­tion of War rarely plays it safe or soft.

Of course, the harsh re­al­i­ties of an en­tire fam­ily unit be­ing trapped in med­i­cal limbo – the end­less rounds of doc­tors and spe­cial­ists, clin­ics and wait­ing rooms – are pre­sented with ap­pro­pri­ate grav­ity and sen­si­tiv­ity through­out.

How­ever, the film is ever at the ready to re­mind us that life goes on whether we are cop­ing with a strained sit­u­a­tion ad­mirably or fall­ing to bits un­pre­dictably.

UP­LIFT­ING: Jeremie Elkaim and Va­lerie Donzelli draw on life ex­pe­ri­ence in Dec­la­ra­tion of War.

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