Guillaume Nicloux takes the party with VALLEY OF LOVE, to confront on film, two great actors of French cinema, of all generations : Depardieu and Huppert.
If this fantasy film* is fully filled, but this is not the only attraction of the film.
For me for example, it is above all something very personal: I have made my own honeymoon in the great open spaces of america, and went through this Valley of Death that serves as the setting for the film. The exact same places. And if our introspection of the newlyweds was very different, because of our age and our life experience, she was none the less real. For me, the identification with Isabelle and Gérard was inherent. As soon as the same, the vision of the trailer.
But beyond my obvious disposition to enjoy the film, there are these issues of sensitivity, and direction of actors.
The writing of Guillaume Nicloux succeeds in this, to frame both literally and figuratively, these two monsters bouffeurs film. It encloses Huppert and Depardieu in a bubble of melancholy feeding on the life experiences of two actors while being imprint of his personality, and his obsessions became a director-en-scene.
Because since the excellent A Private Matter, Nicloux has specialized in the replay, via the genre film, the public image of artists-monsters – Thierry L Hermitte in a private detective, alcoholic, Josiane Balasko en flic, depressed, Michel Houellebeck in kidnapped… and now Huppert and Depardieu in parents-actors nostalgic; VALLEY OF LOVE is this beautiful course introspective (with a hint of fantasy) that asks two players to compose a version that was familiar and accessible to them-even, for us to deliver a simple message but very touching on grief, the weight of regret, the power of love, and lots of other beautiful things that do not pass necessarily through words. And if the director does not always just in his filmography, here, it is successful.
“Two huge actors in a behind-closed-doors open-pit ideal for introspection. Beautiful.”
The emotion starts as soon as the first shot, simple and yet silent. It follows Isabelle Huppert through the motel in Furnace Creek – a manmade oasis in the middle of the Valley of Death. Already a haunting and evocative, particularly thanks to the magnificent music composed, if I remember correctly, by Hans Zimmer for The Red Line. Then, a few scenes of daily life, which is already giving the keys very accurately in order to decode this character full of regrets and neuroses. When it comes to Gerard, a couple who no longer exists literally takes life. Guillaume Nicloux is filming the two actors with sobriety, but will not clear so far behind them. It captures, on the contrary, emotions receipts or extériorisées, phobias are very personal, which are expressed naturally, the common memories we spectator, and the duo Huppert / Depardieu. It’s simple, but it is beautiful.
The game of the performance, Isabelle Huppert is excellent, but relatively in its usual register. Thus, it is Depardieu who draws its pin from the play. A Depardieu -not to be outraged or bombastic, to the image of his greatest roles of the last century… But not non-more the other end that he is in Mammuth… No : it is something else. Composition or not, the actor conveys an emotion that is certain, by his mere presence. It blistered and tired, but definitely alive, says already who he is, why, and how he got there. And then, superimposed, its intense gameplay powered by the very beautiful and for the dialogues to finish develop one of the most beautiful characters I have ever seen at the cinema.
Nobody else could play this role, because in a burst meta, merging the actor (his son William also died recently) and his character (which mask by pragmatism, the emotion caused by the death of his son). Huppert serves as a catalyst for emotions, for THIS Depardieu vulnerable. Positive, or negative, what are their fine trade, of course, which are the major beauty of the film. And the power of their interpretation, it does not ever says: “hey, these actors are in free wheel”, or “Oh? it is very written it all,”... But rather “they are beautiful, their story is beautiful. I’ve always loved and I understand better why.”
*I have not seen the Pialat and The Balls don’t really count.