In Harmony is perhaps best consumed as an entrée to PIAF. While it offers a small taste of promising things to come, it will leave you with an insatiable hunger for something with much more substance.
Perth International Arts Festival staple Denis Dercourt brings us the opening film of the 2015-16 Lotterywest Festival Films program, the French language drama In Harmony or En Équilibre. The film chronicles the later years of Marc (Albert Dupontel), a former film stunt rider who has lost the use of his legs after an on-set accident. Now reclusive and reserved, Marc seeks the help of his insurer Florence (Cécile De France) to battle legal proceedings preventing him from returning to his passion of horse-riding, which in turn inspires her to revisit former musical talent of her own.
As pretty as a painting, but sadly about as lifeless too; In Harmony spends its brief runtime searching for a meaning to its existence. It’s not without potential – there are plenty of interesting topics brought up; disability and its effects on a career and way of life, emotional turmoil vs the legal system, the complications of an affair with a client… but the film doesn’t capitalise on any of it. Instead its opts to sit and stew; not unlike its depressingly crippled protagonist. Head-scratching moments abound, particularly when Marc and Florence suddenly become romantic, without any tension or chemistry hinting towards this. It feels bizarrely tacked on in an effort to add anything compelling into the mix. Some gorgeous scenery and neat horse-riding stunts save this from complete calamity, but with little more to say than a basic “follow your dreams” message, it’s likely you’ll simply shrug it off once the credits roll.
Screening from 23rd November-6th December at UWA Somerville & Joondalup Pines
Images courtesy of Studio Canal & Perth International Arts Festival Lotterywest Festival Films