NONE SO BLIND ASWOULD NOT SEE
Green bashes the former in passing, not so much to take revenge on the literary milieu, not previously depicted in his films, as to signal that something is happening, that these people are there to not see. There is yesterday’s writer, too unimportant to have anything to say and yet awarded the Conlong A prisoner in his blue bedroom, facing a poster reproduction of Caravaggio’s Sacrifice of Isaac that had wrongly inspired him to commit parricide, Vincent will renounce vengeance (or understand the painting), spare the father who is “flesh of his flesh” and give birth to a father “in spirit.” This father is the man who takes him by the arm in a hotel lobby as he is about to flee. He is named Joseph (the perfect Fabrizio Rongione, who played a similar role in La Sapienza). He guesses that something happened, later, when his brother is fornicating and deciding who will and will not appear in print. Something has happened, something Joseph has not seen, he whose brother has just refused to help him. Something he will try to understand with Vincent. The two new-found friends go to the Louvre to contemplate Philippe de Champaigne’s Le Christ mort. They see the wound in Christ’s side resembling the vagina of a woman who has just given birth. They look at Georges de La Tour’s Joseph, with the carpenter’s tool in the shape of a cross signifying the choice of not appearing or appearing in a paradoxical fashion. Is it Joseph, becoming a spiritual father to Vincent, who explains the images to Vincent, or is it Vincent who explains to the uncle that Joseph has been delivered into the world by the nephew? The two undertake the initiation together. Vincent reconstitutes his family around the sacrifice of his vengeance. His act, which is a non-act, engenders a family— a father, a son and a mother. Her name is Marie (the deeply moving Natacha Régnier, finally reappearing in a Green film for the first time since Le Pont des arts, a dozen years ago). At Vincent’s instigation, she agrees to meet Joseph. We’re not really sure who delivers whom in the Word. The triangle is perfect. Two apexes engender a third every time. But this family still has to be said, named as such. The incarnation will take place on a Normandy beach where the three walk toward the sea, with Marie riding on a donkey, to escape the pursuit organized by Pormenor (Raphaël O’Byrne’s camerawork is magnificent). The father wants to take vengeance for the crime of which he has not been the victim. He seeks, without knowing it, to kill, a second time, the man who unbeknownst to him is his son. From the closed blue bedroom to the sea, open to infinity, space has metamorphosed. The three fugitives, each of them a begetter and begotten, are on the same plane, where we, in turn, find ourselves. The event is too powerful, oversaturated with presence. The reaction is almost immediate: soldiers and police, the armed branch of a society built upon the refusal to hear and see. Pormenor recognizes his handcuffed child as his attacker. Then, when Marie and Joseph recognize Vincent as their son, the father is touched. He apologizes, his eyes red with tears, and leaves. Once again the three friends set off on the beach. Then Vincent breaks the triangle. He lets his parents walk away alone together, already intertwined. But they do not exclude him. This is the remarkable Victor Ezenfils’s first film. His face seems made for the light.
Benoît Chantre Translation, L-S Torgoff