Back to Burgundy

Review by Claire Langlais

Directed by

Cédric Klapisch

Starring

Ana Girardot François Civil Pio Marmaï

Anticipation.

Family and wine? Could be worse!

Enjoyment.

Too slow and too shrill.

In Retrospect.

Could have watched a wine documentary instead.

A prodigal son relinquishes the jet set to run his ailing father’s vineyard in this lacklustre comedy-drama.

Jean (Pio Marmaï) is the slick world traveller who returns to his childhood home in the famous wine region of Burgundy and is reunited with his brother and sister (Jérémie and Juliette) when he learns that his father has contracted an illness. This reunion is no foregone conclusion after years of separation, especially since he now has to help manage the family. vineyard. Relationships, cultural legacy and the joys of good wine are the themes of Cedric Klapisch’s featherlight comedy-drama, Back to Burgundy.

As the story rolls gently on, we get to see Jean evolve into his new role thanks to the interactions with his family and others in the nearby village. It’s easy to understand that each one of the siblings has changed, grown up and grown apart. The bond that keeps them together is their idyllic childhood with their father and on his vineyard. And yet, Jean’s story doesn’t inspire much compassion: reconnecting with the French countryside is a pain for him after traveling to many different countries, and when it isn’t so much about him but more about his family. It isn’t easy to relate to his brother Jérémie (François Civil) and sister Juliette (Ana Girardot), whose story is slowly told.

As for the secondary characters, who are only here for a short time because of their seasonal workers status, the relationship they have with the family is anecdotal and give the film any much needed energy. The winemaking process is at times more interesting than the plot. 
Despite a few amusing scenes, when Jean and Jérémie make fun of any man trying to impress their sister Juliette, Back to Burgundy is far from the usual endearing and rhythmic stories that the French director offers – he remains famous for his 2002 hit, L’auberge espagnole.

There are a few pretty shots of fields across the seasons which work as a handy tourism advert for the region, and even though the steps to make wine are seen in the background, you can’t help but feel that diving completely into that world would have made the movie far more satisfying.

Published 31 Aug 2017

Tags: French Cinema

Anticipation.

Family and wine? Could be worse!

Enjoyment.

Too slow and too shrill.

In Retrospect.

Could have watched a wine documentary instead.

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