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The Independent Critic

Anne Cazenave, Bernard Gadrat, Christophe Dardenne, Freddie Wakefield, Jana Kravitz, Olivier Cazenave, Philippe Maurette
Luc Plissonneau
French (English Subtitles)

 "The Red Thread" Review 
Achille Lambert (Bernard Gadrat) is a wine producer in Bordeaux in the twilight of his life. When his daughter, Roxane (Cazenave), arranges for a blind wine tasting with four specifically selected bottles of wine, Achille not only savors the tastes of the wines before him but the life experiences that accompany them. From this experience, Achille is able to find peace with his life journey and to embrace and celebrate a life filled with love and family.

Written and directed by French filmmaker Luc Plissonneau, The Red Thread (Fil Rouge) is constructed with a series of short vignettes that, more importantly, become the wholeness of Achille's life as captured in this 17+ minute film. Beautifully and tenderly designed and acted by a marvelous ensemble cast, led by Gadrat and Cazenave, The Red Thread is a visual feast as it often seems only the French can create.

There is something beautiful when a filmmaker is able to really capture the essence of what it means to be "family," a word that seems more often caricaturized in cinema than actually realized. Plissonneau's film beautifully realizes the stillness and sense of being with one another that truly represents family. In the matter of a mere 17 minutes, Achille and Roxane feel as if they are family and that they truly do belong with one another. As The Red Thread journeys through the life experiences of Achille, it does so in a way that makes sense of his presence and appearance as an old man winding down his life journey.

While there are fleeting moments in The Red Thread that are slightly less convincing, there are at least two that are completely masterful including an unforgettable war era reflection and the film's final, remarkable visual storytelling.

Marc Hazart's original music is excellent, while D.P. Franck Poirot's camera work offers the film a remarkable consistency despite scenes that take place years apart. The editing by Plissonneau and Patrick Noel is, for the most part, smooth and concise despite working on a modest budget.

Plissonneau has just wrapped up work on his next short, Izak's Choice, and will be hitting the film festival circuit again soon with his eyes on a feature film in the near future including, perhaps, an expansion of this marvelously involving story.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic