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November 13, 2012 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-11-13

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6 - Tuesday, November 13, 2012r

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

'Daughter' doesn't
'dig deep enough
French film depicts
one-dimensional
view of country life

By NATALIE GADBOIS
Daily Arts Writer
Films can at times be intensely
enjoyable without actually being
good. This is the case for "The
Well Digger's
Daughter" a
lushly simple *
story of love The Well
and pride set in
the pre-World Digger's
War II French Daughter
countryside.
The film excels At the -
in its bucolic Michigan
cinematogra- Kins Lorber
phy and classic
tale of broken
hearts, but this simplicity is far
too one-dimensional and arche-
typal to provide any real merit.
Daniel Auteuil ("The Look-
out") directs and stars as Pascal
Amoretti, an uneducated well
digger who thrives on his pride
for his eldest daughter and his
antiquated sense of honor. Wid-
owed years before and left to
raise six daughters by himself,
the resolutely masculine Pascal
relies heavily on Patricia (Astrid
Berges-Frisbey, "The Pirates
of the Caribbean: -On Stranger
Tides"), his ingenuously sweet
18-year-old daughter, to handle
the "womenfolk" duties.
Of course, according to stan-
dard, Patricia is the beauty of the
county, a fact that does not go
unnoticed by Pascal or Jacques,
the debonair and devilish rich boy
(Nicolas Duvauchelle, "Polisse").
Jacques gets Patricia pregnant
(gasp!) and then is abruptly sent
off the war. The loving farewell
note he entrusts his arrogant
mother to give to Patricia is cru-
elly burned, al a"The Notebook."
The film falters here, as these
promising characters in this beau-
tifully transparent setting never
fully form and quickly delineate
into stereotypes. Patricia is the
guileless, naive ingenue, Jacques

I
I

tNor You're not puhn'there."
Solace through 'Sessions'

Peasant life. #SWAG
is herslimy andequivocatingbaby
daddy, Pasqual is the loving but
unyielding father who can't for-
give his daughter. This story has
been done before, and despite its
surface charms, falls flat.
Many complex issues are
touched on, but never analyzed
at a deeper level. Director Auteuil
scratches at the striking class dif-
ferences between Jacques's pre-
tentious "town" family and the
Amoretti's simple hardworking
ways, but never strengthens the
line beyond rich vs. poor, mon-
ocle-wearing rich guy vs. dirt-
spattered working man.
Similarly, Patricia is heavily
ostracized, in particular by her
own father, for bearing a bastard
child, while Jacques remains free
and clear with no responsibility.
Sadly, Auteuil does not allow us
to enter her head and understand
the deep pain and loneliness she
must feel. Instead the film sinks
into melodrama, pinning Patricia
as the love-addled sobbing young
mother and Pascal as her bluster-
ing and corpulent master.
The best parts of this film are
the few subdued moments, when
the characters are allowed simply
to be, and not to take on a grandi-
ose paradigm. When Pascal and
Patricia stand in their simple
kitchen, and she tells him in a few
agonizing words of her condition,
there is an honest understanding

between them that eloquently
rises above the melodrama. In
these lucid scenes, the sweeping
yet placid beauty of the Provence
landscape is most evident and the
Amorettis seem most at peace
in their quiescent world. More
than anything else Pascal is a
man of great pride, and in these
scenes it's apparent why - he's
an uncomplicated man who's
unburdened with great intel-
ligence, but he reigns over his
small pastoral world with equal
honor'and love.
Unfortunately, these moments
are easily lost in the loud and
unnecessary plot traps that
become gradually larger and less
relatable as the film progresses.
This story is rarely ambiguous or
subtle, so every action is either
inconsequential or grand and life
altering.
The love story loses its inti-
macy, Pascal abruptly contradicts
the very edicts he stood by so
strongly at the beginning of the
film, and Patricia never seems to
gain wisdom despite her great tri-
als. Though there is much beauty
to be found in the decisive simplic-
ity of the film, in the end it only
becomes redundant. "The Well
Digger's Daughter" had the poten-
tial to be a nuanced, crystalizing
film, but instead it falls trap to the
archetypal stories of love and loss
that we've grown bored of.

By BRIAN BURLAGE
For the Daily
The sexual odyssey of the poet
Mark O'Brien (John Hawkes,
"Winter's Bone") is entertaining
and wonder-
fully outland- *
ish. Though as
a film "The Ses- The
sions" is raun- Sessions
chy and courted
by innuendo, it At the
illuminates the Michigan
brighter, more
personal aspect FoxSearchlight
of O'Brien's
physical longing. After contract-
ing polio as a child, he lost muscle
control in every joint, tendon and
sinew in his body. Buthe's a quick-
wit and a good listener, a caring
friend and a devout Catholic, a
38-year-old man approaching
his expiration date and not really
knowing what to do about it.
O'Brien's disability has con-
fined him to the realm of his
observation, and, as a result, what
he writes is consistently heart-
felt. He's forced to acknowledge
the amenities because the scope
of his vision is narrowed. Poetry,
for O'Brien, becomes a serious
method of articulating detailed
reactions and appreciations. The
overlying voice narrative - that
of O'Brien's - expounds on the
notion of his near-omnipresence,
as though a man so limited in
body can be so free-ranging in
mind.
While the film offers a sub-
tle discourse in finding honest

inspirat
actively
what u
poetry,
for O'B
ten wo
capabil
tion ov
O'Brien
odd th
siastic
highly
with Fa
Macy,'
aching
cussing
to cons
Hunt,'
seeks t
Sea
It's
O'Br
Cheryl,
session
aim of
- acco
course.
awry a:
mate fe
only se
the ten
tain of
husban
genuini
session
true ror
Thoi
story o

tion for poetry, it more ing way, it fails to provide a seri-
pursues an erotic, some- ous motive behind O'Brien's
nrefined avenue. Sex, like search for sex. Instead, we are left
is portrayed as an escape to gather from sporadic quotes
rien. But unlike the writ- of insight, awkward interactions
rd, sex demands physical with disinterested women, and
ity, endurance and dicta- the context of his illness to under-
er one'smovement. Since stand exactly why, at 38 years old,
lacks all three, it seems he is so desperate for sex.
at he would be so enthu- In addition, the film is too short
about chasing after the to sufficiently cultivate the story.
improbable. So he meets O'Brien's situation is so unusual,
ther Brendan (William H. and there could have been more
'Fargo"), who consoles his character interaction to illumi-
sexual desire. After dis- nate such unorthodoxy. Relation-
the issue, O'Brien decides ships feel rushed and drawn out.
ult a sex surrogate (Helen Aspects of his and her desire go
'As Good As It Gets") and unexplained. They reach conclu-
o lose his virginity. sions before they let the facts of
their budding attraction calcify
and condense. The stages of their
Xual healing: relationship, and of their charac-
ter development as a whole, tran-
good for you spire withoutpurpose. Because of
the film's fault in the writing, it's
difficult to take anything away
after watching it. O'Brien appears
ien and his sex surrogate, to be the same man before and
are allotted six therapy after his sessions.
s to achieve his ultimate Despite those downgrades,
becoming a "made man" the film does give some valuable
mplished in sexual inter- insight into the life of a hopeful
His grand scheme goes and caring poet. One of the lines
s he starts to develop inti- that explains the situation best
elings for the woman he's comes from a poem of O'Brien's
en a few times. To add to that is read thematicallythrough-
sion, Cheryl grows uncer- out the film: "Let me touch you
her relationship with her with my words." And after all the
d and invests what little wayward bouts of sexual despera-
e love she has left into her tion, botched attempts at love and
s with O'Brien to make ita characteristic displeasures, we
mantic encounter. know that O'Brien tried his best
ugh the film follows the to gain mobility - if not in body,
f love in a fresh and excit- then in mind.

I

:,

Call: #734-418-4115
Email: dailydisplay@gmail.com

RELEASE DATE- Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 3 Java vessels 32Bar mitzvah 49 Pay extension?
1 College donor, 4 "Grumpy Old reading source 51 Stallion or bull
often Men" co-star 33 Didn'tlosea game 53 Craig Ferguson,
5 401(k) cousin, 5 Rite words 36 Java order by birth
briefly 6 Modern caller 3 Off! ingredient 55 Asian tongue
8 Garden ground ID, perhaps 39 Mike, to Archie 56 Bring home
co1er 7 Part of A. . 42 Upscale sports 57 "Marvy!"
13 Mount Olympus W8rop-line link car 58 Monopoly
wife 9 Wrigley ield 44 Perch on token
14 Steak bread lodges 4 iebbs 5 a o uh
16 Novelist Zola 10 Mouthing the 41 Like babes 5 Haston much,
17 "As if" " lyrics 47 Dennis the briefly
20 Halley's sci. 11 Red Skelton Menace's dog 60 Clucking sound
21 Full of vitality character ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE:
22 Ideological suffix Kadiddlehopper B
23 Lift with effort 12 Cooped-up layer A L I A G O A D S T E A M
25 '60s 15 Bird on old S E E R U N L I T W A N E
counterculturist quarters S A L M O N P I N K I R A N
Timothy 18 Earl _ tea I D I KIN O B E N C L
27 "As if!" 19 Groundbreaking S E E P S S I M O N S A Y S
31 Rants aboutthe tool I N F L I C T A ND N S A
boss, e.g. 24 Greenland
34 Jacob's brother coastal feature U G H P I E E A TS
35 Niagara Falls 26 Company that C I N N A M O N R O L L S
pro. rings a bell? S OAK VOW U S E
36 Gorky Park city 27 "Marvy!" A DD R V A N A G R A M
37 Like hortpuzzle 28Green grouch L E M O N Z E S T K Y O T O
answers 29"StarTrek" N I P S I O T A C O N
38 "As if!" velocty D A T E C O M M O N C O L D
40 Hostility measureI M I N ORB I T U C L A
41 Started, as a keg 3mordinmany P E T S G R A C E P O S Y
43 P.1. university
44 Hypnotic trance names ewordedierwaolcam 11/13/12
breaker 1 2 3 4aa s 7 s r10 a112
45 "Friend_?" 13 14 15 1s
46 "As if" "
48 Pal of Threepio 17 1a 1s
50 Not at all droopy
51 Intro makers 20 21 22
52 One might say as a4 as as
"shay" for "say" 2
54 Inevitable end 27 2 s29 o 31 32 33
07 "As if!"
61 Honolulu hello 34 5 35 36
62 Egg on
63 Sculling gear 37 38 3s 40
64 Headwear in a1a43 a
iconic Che
posters 45 46 47
65 Many ESPN fall
highlights5
66 Way to be s1 vs 5 s sa 3n s
tickled
DOWN
1 Cry of ' 12 5s
enlightenment asa s
2 Film heroine
with memorable errchen
buns (c2012rribuneMedia services, Inc. 11/12/12

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From Page 5
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Johnson is a Twi-mom in

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