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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Sydney Film Festival (19) - BACK TO BURGUNDY (Cédric Klapisch, France). Reviewed by Barrie Pattison

From Cédric Klapisch we expect something lively original and maybe even charming. His l'Auberge espagnol trilogy provided that. No such luck here. The new Ce qui nous lie/Back to Burgundy is overlong and repetitive. It is great to look at, full of ‘scope vistas of seasons transforming the Burgundy vineyards - along with beautiful people - but they get to be boring company.

Pio Marmaï  comes back to the family vineyards after five years in Australia (!) - cut from him waiting on the bus stop with the circus poster, after a run in with dad, to the same stop showing a new circus poster and him with a rucksack & beard. His siblings Ana Girardot and François Civil are running the business. Hospitalised father Éric Caravaca (the only familiar face in a sea of fresh talent) dies and the trio face the question of how to deal with dividing the estate menaced by tax debt. Oliver Assayas’ 2008 L'heure d'été / Summer Hours kicked this idea about rather better.

There’s more wine making detail than anyone could ever want (“only wimps spit at a tasting”) and at great length the action gets to pivot on whether the most talented wine maker among them will carry on the family tradition 

Giradot comes across gang busters and the rest are equal to the task but even the best passages, like the brothers lip-synching the dialogue between her and the stroppy picker whom they see romancing Giradot in the distance, have a current of meanness out of character with the director’s best work.  

Put this one down as the major disappointment in my highly selective viewing of the 2017 Sydney Film Fest.

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