This film, directed by Philippe Claudel, is about loss, redemption and reconciliation. Starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein as two sisters separated for 15 years when Juliette (Scott Thomas) is convicted and jailed for the murder of her 6 year old son Pierre. At her trial. Juliette offers no explanation for her actions and is content to accept her punishment and live with her guilt. Her family disassociate themselves from her although her younger sister Lea, believes that there is an explanation and remains convinced that Juliette can redeem herself. The film is set in the period following Juliette’s release from prison when she moves in with her sister and her family and is struggling to reintegrate into society.
The film was shot digitally and there is a great attention to detail. It is photographically very good to watch. The director says he deliberately kept the camera work simple so as not to detract from the skill of his actors.
I have chosen one example from the final scene of the film. Juliette has just explained to Lea the death of her son after Lea had discovered a medical report showing that Pierre was terminally ill. The scene up until this point was very intense and emotional. The two women are taking in the enormity of what has just happened, when Lea looks towards the window and remarks on the scene outside. “Look, it’s so beautiful”
Juliette then looks at Lea, the focus changes to her face and she looks at the window,
The shot then changes to the window. The lashing rain and the weeping willow tree moving in the wind, make constantly changing patterns on the glass. (you really need the moving image here)
The change in pace with this simple juxtaposition signals a new understanding between the sisters and a new chapter in their relationship.