La revue de presse

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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Luce le Dim 17 Mar 2013 - 15:58

In My Father's Den (At the Movies, 28 octobre 2004)
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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Luce le Sam 30 Mar 2013 - 11:30

La critique de Russell Edwards parue dans Variety, le 16 Juin 2004 (reprise dans The Film Archive Nouvelle-Zélande)
Spoiler:
“Forbidden pasts and unlived futures are intimately entwined and judiciously unraveled in Kiwi meller In My Father's Den. Adapted from the celebrated 1972 local novel by Maurice Gee, this feature bow by writer-director Brad McGann is a visually secure drama with an atmospheric edge and tastefully restrained artiness... With a deliberately over-poetic voiceover from teenager Celia, the film begins with images whose true significance is not revealed for several reels. Post-titles, picture settles down to introduce Paul Prior, a celebrated war photojournalist who arrives after a long absence from his small hometown in New Zealand's South Island just too late to attend his father's funeral. Narrative haltingly presents Paul's resentful, stay-at-home, ostrich-farming brother, Andrew, Andrew's neurotic wife, Penny (Australia's Miranda Otto, in a small but pivotal role) and their son, Jonathan. While deciding whether to return to the northern hemisphere or fulfil family obligations of cleaning up after his father's life, Paul finds himself drawn to his father's secret den of maps, books, LP records and enigmatic artwork. First discovered by Paul as a teenager, the den was a secret haven in which his dad pursued intellectual interests and other clandestine pastimes, the sharing of which cemented a bond between Paul and his father in exclusion to brother Andrew and Paul's long-dead mother. This bond, and other parallel strands, are revealed via one of a series of flashbacks resembling what Quentin Tarantino once described as an "answers first, questions later" structure. Though Reservoir Dogs seems an unlikely reference point, Den is similarly informed and driven by initially confusing inserts. However, as writer-director McGann and his yarn win viewer confidence, the storytelling mode provides a self-renewing effect. During one visit to his father's sanctuary, the adult Paul comes across Celia, who's been habitually trespassing there to expand her horizons. Celia is the offspring of Jackie, Paul's onetime girl friend with whom he shared a multitude of sins during adolescence and who still carries a torch for the world-weary photographer. Despite several strong hints about her parentage, Celia takes her time drawing the obvious conclusion, and in the interim develops a crush on Paul. When Paul gets a job teaching at her school, the two are further pushed together. As their relationship develops during the film’s midsection, subplots tentatively reveal the grim circumstances of the death of Paul's mother. They also hint at yet another dark family secret which initially drove Paul into the wider world almost two decades ago. Artfully played and depicted with acute sensitivity, the tender scenes between Paul and Celia are the heart of the picture. A humorous episode in which Celia interviews Paul, ostensibly for a school project, is particularly memorable. It's a welcome relief from the movie's generally bleak atmosphere, and helps to establish the rapport required to make the intense later scenes between the pair believable. At the three-quarter mark, the film veers into thriller mode with an unexpected twist. Though this left turn is eventually resolved in a complex but plausible denouement, the narrative jolt unsettles the mood for about a reel. An avalanche of last-minute revelations requires considerable attentiveness by the viewer. MacFadyen is distant yet strangely touching as the emotionally shut-down photojournalist who returns home with foreign eyes and a Brit accent. But the film is dominated by local teen actress Barclay, who excels in the role of Celia. In a part that not only carries the weight of her own character's expectations but is also a manifestation of Paul's nightmares, Barclay meets the dramatic demands with an impressive range… Quality lensing by Stuart Dryburgh wisely avoids too many picturesque landscapes. Soundtrack includes dollops of Patti Smith and Kiwi opera star Kiri Te Kanawa, while Simon Boswell's original score is haunting without becoming intrusive. Other tech credits are on the money. For the record, film was the first New Zealand production to open Australia's Sydney Film Festival in its 51-year history.”
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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Luce le Mer 12 Juin 2013 - 12:55

In My Father's Den  (par Declan Burke,Entairtainment.ie, 23 juin 2005)
 
Movie rating: 5 Star

Pulitzer Prize-nominated war photographer Paul Prior (MacFadyen) returns home to New Zealand for his father's funeral after 17 years away and stays to mend fences with his estranged brother Andrew (Moy) and catch up with his old girlfriend Jackie (Rimmer). Befriended by Jackie's teenager daughter Celia (Barclay), who wants to be a journalist, Paul soon comes to believe that Celia is his daughter. In trying to make up for all the lost years, Paul kicks over a hornet's nest that finally culminates in a horrific tragedy. A powerful, gripping drama directed with subtlety and restraint by Brad McGann (who also adapted Maurice Gee's novel for the screenplay), In My Father's Den is a meticulously crafted tale. New Zealand looks simultaneously bleak and craggily beautiful, a combination also found in MacFadyen's portrayal of a cynical photographer who has seen one too many atrocities but still can't shut down his instinctive eye for detail. In telling the story using a repetitively looping narrative, and overlaying layers of unobtrusive imagery much like a landscape painter building a swash, McGann has blended a conventional thriller-style who-dunnit with arthouse sensibilities, drawing from MacFadyen and Barclay a wonderfully articulate two-hander in the process. A film that will repay repeated viewings, In My Father's Den also benefits from a superb sound recording by editor and adr recordist Richard Flynn and Nick Foley respectively, while the combination of Dame Kiri Te Kawana and Patti Smith on the soundtrack is deployed to devastating effect. All in all, a cinema lover's treat.
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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Luce le Mer 12 Juin 2013 - 13:05

In My Father's Den  (par Matthew Turner, The View London Review, 22 juin 2005)

Spoiler:


Impressively directed, emotionally powerful drama with strong performances from McFadyen and Barclay.
In My Father’s Den is the feature debut by New Zealand writer-director Brad McGann, who has adapted and updated a 1972 novel by Maurice Gee. An impressively directed drama, it remains emotionally engaging throughout, thanks to strong characterisation and superb performances from Matthew McFadyen and Emily Barclay.
The Story
McFadyen plays Paul Prior, a world-renowned war reporter who returns to his New Zealand hometown after an absence of 17 years, following the death of his father. His brother Andrew (Colin Moy) is both shocked and angry at Paul’s return, especially when it transpires that their father left Paul a third of everything. Meanwhile, Paul discovers that his former girlfriend (Jodie Rimmer) has a teenaged daughter, Celia (Emily Barclay), who may or may not be his.
Paul takes a special interest in Celia, encouraging her to pursue her interest in writing and spending an uncomfortable amount of time with her in a secret den that was his father’s hideaway. However, when Celia suddenly goes missing, several dark and disturbing secrets are revealed.
The structure of the film is extremely similar to 2002’s Lantana, an Australian thriller that played similar editing tricks with the time-line of the movie and required the audience to play close attention to what was going on. Like Lantana, In My Father’s Den also relies on strong characterisation and assured performances to hold our interest while the mystery slowly unravels.
The Acting
McFadyen is superb as Paul and the script cleverly passes off his English accent as his deliberate attempt to distance himself from his past. The story is set up so that you initially believe his family’s perception of him as cold, emotionless and selfish, so the final revelations pack a considerable emotional punch, with McFadyen’s performance suggesting that Clive Owen had better watch his back in future.
The supporting cast are equally strong, particularly Jodie Rimmer, Colin Moy and Miranda Otto, who shines in a small but important role. However, the stand-out is Emily Barclay, who gives an impressive performance that is tough, yet vulnerable at the same time.
There’s very little in the way of humour in the film and this does become a little wearing after a while. However, it’s beautifully shot and McGann makes strong use of the film’s rural locations.
The Conclusion
In short, In My Father’s Den is a cleverly structured, smartly written film that holds your attention to the end and delivers a powerful emotional kick thanks to its strong performances. McGann proves himself a talent to watch and both McFadyen and Barclay deserve to go on to great things after this. Highly recommended.


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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Luce le Mer 19 Juin 2013 - 16:04

L'article de Philip Matthews The sea, the Possibility paru le 9 octobre 2004 dans le NZ Listener a été repris par l'auteur dans son blog  Second Sight le 1° août 2008. 


Two things sent me back to this In My Father's Den review (originally in the NZ Listener, October 9, 2004). First the news that Maurice Gee's much-loved kids' fantasy book Under the Mountain is getting the remake treatment, courtesy of Black Sheep auteur Jonathan King -- and presumably effects-by-Weta is again a selling point as NZ tries to position itself as the film world's boutique fantasy exporter -- but, more important, a fresh re-reading of Gee's classic 1978 novel Plumb. That book is widely taken as Gee's finest hour -- indeed, Bill Manhire regularly describes it as the best NZ novel ever written -- but what was particularly interesting this time around, apart from Gee's metaphorical language of Plumb as straightness and recurring, Biblical images of fruit and barren-ness, was Gee's ambivalent relationship with Protestant religiosity. We admire the stands that George Plumb takes -- WWI-era pacifism, radical free-thinking -- but we can see how his near-messianic self-belief damages the lives of his wife and children, and we can see the contradictions that the man himself cannot see, particularly when he scoffs at the guru his son has chosen to follow -- really just another man with unconventional religious views. For Gee, strong religious belief usually comes with an equally strong sense of intolerance -- which is something that matters in In My Father's Den.

Brad McGann’s brilliant, involving and ultimately devastating version of In My Father’s Den was that rare type of adaptation: one that doesn’t just successfully translate a great book (although that’s rare enough), but just as successfully updates it and refreshes it, finding new ways into its difficult emotions, amplifying and renewing its themes. The key to Gee’s novel – and this film – is that great New Zealand urge: the need to get away, to get out, to make something of yourself somewhere else. The corollary of that is another typical New Zealand feeling: the fear or disappointment faced when coming back, an abiding sense of personal failure.

The familiar publicity image from the film is of teenage Celia (Emily Barclay) lying meditatively on train tracks, which is less about suicidal tendencies – she has none of those – or the anticipation of a coffin, than a fairly immediate metaphor for really, really wanting to leave. “I’d rather be a no one somewhere than a someone nowhere,” she says. Her dream destination is Spain. You can also go away without leaving, which is escapism or imagination. In the novel, Paul Prior, who as a teacher becomes a sort of father figure to the intellectual outcast Celia, escaped into books as a teenager: Gee uses Paul’s reading of Dostoevsky to signal his wilful opposition to dreary New Zealand conformism and the religious fundamentalism of his mother, a tragic figure in both book and film. McGann’s innovation is to replace Dostoevsky with Patti Smith, whose best music has all the romantic defiance and yearning of teenagers who want to be anywhere but here – and, heard again as an adult, the same songs are suggestive of dreams that weren’t fulfilled, promises that weren’t kept (the songs are “Free Money” and “Land” from Horses). Paul’s teenage girlfriend, Celia’s mother, even scrawled the important message on the back of the Patti Smith LP: “In case we ever forget who we are.”

She stayed, and forgot, and became a butcher in the small Otago town that replaces Gee’s West Auckland (the feeling is that West Auckland is too suburbanised now, lacking that vital sense of rural dread, which puts this film squarely in the "Cinema of Unease" tradition, as Duncan Petrie has noted). Paul left New Zealand, becoming a photojournalist who specialises in war atrocities, which suggests that he is already wearing a bulletproof suit of emotional reserve long before he returns to Otago, to bury his father and face his past. In the subtle, exceptionally capable British actor Matthew Macfadyen, McGann found a soulful and charismatic Paul to set against a stiff and dangerously repressed Andrew (Colin Moy), Paul’s brother, who has inherited their mother’s world-hating religious temperament (in the novel, she burns a copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass to demonstrate her opposition to all things sensual) and married her replica, played by Australian actress Miranda Otto as a kind of mute, depressed captive. But Paul has more of his father in him, and the den of the title was another way to escape without leaving: Paul’s father stocked a small, secret room with books and music. In the film, a generation on, Celia finds the den and makes it her own, which identifies her as having the same outsider strain.

Both novel and film are flashback-heavy, but neither feels complicated. McGann lays it out painstakingly, and the film is slow to start with, before it shifts gears into a disappearance story – Celia goes missing, after visiting Paul one Sunday – that has a gripping and unnerving tension. There are secret rooms and then there are secrets within secrets and it’s unlikely that any viewer – even, or maybe especially, those briefed by a quick re-read of the novel – will be prepared for what follows and the way that the story eventually untangles. In outdoor shots, Otago looks like being on the cusp between winter and spring, but McGann and his cinematographer, Stuart Dryburgh (The Piano), favour dark colours and damp textures. At times, the film can feel like a slow nightmare played out underwater, as McGann even adapts Patti Smith’s horses-and-sea imagery from “Land” to give the film a whole other interpretational level (this review’s original title, The Sea's the Possibility, came from that song). Grafting Smith’s Horses onto Gee’s novel was hugely inspired – a creative risk that really paid off – and I’d love to know how McGann came up with the idea. His film was one seriously impressive achievement.

The sad postscript to that achievement is that Brad McGann died in May 2007, after a battle with cancer. He was 43. He never got to make a second feature.
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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Matthieu le Mar 10 Déc 2013 - 4:09

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Re: La revue de presse

Message  Matthieu le Ven 24 Oct 2014 - 13:52

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Re: La revue de presse

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