La Plume du peintre
The Painter’s Pen
2017 / France / 84 min
French original Version Subtitled in English
French original Version Subtitled in English + DEBATE
Antoine is 5 when the film begins. During the weekends spent at his father’s house in the country, the focus is on their relationship: the man’s rough yet helping attitude towards the child and the balance he strikes between teaching and educating, which reveals his conception of paternity and manliness. He seems to find in the outdoors an open-air school where he can transmit his knowledge of the flora and fauna; on the hunting trips, childhood fears are displaced, staved off, the cycle of life and death is better understood and the child’s own violence more controlled (“– If I see a bird I’ll smash it! – You don’t smash birds.”). Less present than the yard, road or forest, the domestic space rings with the imperative of schooling – how can both types of learning be reconciled? As father and son are walking through the snow, there is indeed an attempt to read the road signs to practice identifying letters… Agile and resistant, Marie Ka recorded the images and sound herself, over several months, producing a splendid portrait of childhood that refrains from any kind of judgement. The editing has only to capture an imperceptible and joyous movement: the gradual retreat of the father’s role as discoveries, fishing trips and boredom are shared with friends. (Charlotte Garson)
Production / Print source: The Kingdom
Marie Ka shares her time between the countryside and the city. Her works include La Belle et les Bêtes (2006) a documentary saga for French television which depicts the rural world through the eyes of a young Madagascan woman living on a French farm. She also directed Les Hommes du grand emprunt (2010) following the application of the national loan after the financial crisis in 2009.