The adaptation is expected of the masterpiece of Romain Gary by Eric Barber was first in the Arras Film Festival. The fabulous destiny of Romain Gary deserved a film to the height. Failing to be a successful adaptation, THE PROMISE OF The DAWN is in any case the height of the novel, the fate of the writer of a thousand lives.
Wilno Poland in the years 20. Roman Kacew was raised by his mother Mina who struggles to earn his living by making hats. But faced with the lack of money, she pretends to be a friend of a famous parisian couturier in order to attract in his workshop, the local bourgeoisie. Mina never give up in the face of adversity and say that she has great hopes for his son is in itself an understatement as his whole life revolves around projects that it predicts. She sees in turn a diplomat, famous writer, aviator, knight of the legion of honor. “I want you to be famous in your lifetime”. It will accomplish each of the dreams of Mina to never disappoint this mother so loving but also so overwhelming.
All two of them leave Poland to settle in France, in Nice. Mina worships France-and is convinced that his son be able to achieve more. Has Nice, life is sweet. Mina has found its place and has recently resumed a pension while Roman discovers the delights of the flesh, and began seriously to write. Mina sends her to Paris to finish his studies, but when war broke out, Roman is sent in the air force and will be the only one not to be appointed as a sub-officer because of his naturalization was too recent. Again, Roman embellished the story when he returns to Nice to visit his mother in order not to disappoint them. In Paris he managed to publish some news in a newspaper and starts to work on his first novel while he was in Africa and comes to contract Typhus. “You don’t have the right to die you hear !” he ordered the voice-imagination of his mother. He completes his roman Education european and unaware that his mother is no longer of this world.
It is undeniable, the life of Gary is a novel in itself and one can easily understand the desire of the Barber to adapt to the screen this unusual journey. The attempt was already undertaken by Jules Dassin in 1971. Barber does not escape not the temptation to dive to the bottom in the genre biopic reconstituted. But admit it, past the first few minutes in front of a Niney that leaves us a little puzzled, it works ! One is completely embedded in the narrative are very well served by the cast.
But it is especially Charlotte Gainsbourg on which rests the success of the film. We do not imagine, in fact, no better Mina as she is just in the role of a jewish mother, giving her both a love and a strength of character that is impressive. His outfit (recovery forces), his make-up to simulate the different ages, as his slight slavic accent, and his voice suddenly more hoarse could easily be ridiculous and forced. It is not the case. Charlotte is the cheeky gets this woman and gets to convince completely as a mother that draws the extraordinary destiny of his son. Any ambiguity of this merged love is translated by the incarnation of the actress. About Pierre Niney, whose game may annoy some (of which I am a part), it portrays a Gary all shades, from anger to fragility, and is doing quite well.
“The Promise of the Dawn is a great movie about romance and it is already not bad.”
Eric Barbier is based on all the dramatic tension of the life of Romain Gary and is not immune to the call to showcase all the key moments that are the salt of the frescoes fiction : scenes of aviation to the duel of Gary England, through the sequence where he saves an old woman lost in the desert during his stay in Africa, or the scenes of his childhood where his mother tells him to always fight to defend its honor “left to die”. And of course the scene where Gary escapes a plane crash while going to answer a call from his mother while he is on the way out to join De Gaulle in England. Everything is there to put the focus of his fabulous destiny, and on the three pillars of education : honour, love, homeland.
Then necessarily a Barber, in fact sometimes a few tons to serve the soap opera and its staging is too supported. When Barber , for example, wants to go from Gary teen Gary adult, he makes us pass in front of the portrait of Victor Hugo (“you’ll be Victor Hugo, my son !”) on which he superimposed the face of Pierre Niney before putting his camera on the table to work and find. A lot of movement and sometimes for not much but the recipe operates, and it is already not bad.
In the end, THE PROMISE OF The DAWN keeps his promise and pays tribute to the fate of Gary may be more than the book. The film comes out at Christmas (fancy that !). It would be wrong to deprive him of it.
Review published on November 7, during its screening at the Arras Film Festival in 2017
Anne Laure Farges
You’ll also find our interview with director Eric Barbier
• Achievement : Eric Barbier
• Scenario : Eric Barbier and Marie Eynard
• Main actors : Charlotte Gainsbourg, Pierre Niney
• Release Date : 20 December 2017
• Duration : 2h10min