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|Originaltitel:||Valley of Love|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 93 min.|
|FSK:||From 0 years]|
Isabelle (Isabelle Huppert) and Gérard (Gérard Depardieu) were once happily married. But that's long gone. They have long since gone their separate ways and are now only connected by their son Michael. But now Michael is dead. He took his own life when he was only 31 years old. His last wish to his parents was that they should meet at a certain time in Death Valley and visit different stations there in the course of a week. Driven by a mixture of anger, incomprehension and grief, the two of them embark on the absurd program their son designed for them. But will this week really bring them something like salvation?
"Valley of Love" is an art film. This is made clear by the minute-long setting that Isabelle shows as she walks across the hotel grounds. Where one is quickly tempted to speak of boredom, some viewers just see great cinematic art. And this drama about coping with mourning, letting go and forgiveness is also made for such art house lovers. Director Guillaume Nicloux deliberately brushes his production against the mainstream. He takes every form of tempo out of every scene so that the viewer feels the sluggishness imposed on the protagonists by the extreme heat of Death Valley. At the same time the impression of a certain paralysis, which Isabelle and Gérard feel since the suicide of their son, is created. In this respect, the pace of the film is exhausting, but absolutely appropriate to the story.
"Valley of Love" basically has three main actors: Besides Isabelle Huppert and Gérard Depardieu, who were here together in front of the camera for the first time since 1980, this is the fascinating landscape of Death Valley National Park. And so it is the almost magical images that cameraman Christophe Offenstein has captured that lend the story its very own atmosphere. In her the somewhat esoteric part of the movie can also unfold well, without seeming too pushy or kitschy. But for this aspect to unfold its full emotional power - which is especially important for the ending - the viewer has to be willing to get involved.
Then "Valley of Love" is undoubtedly an expressive, powerful drama with good actors and a moving story. However, if you don't succeed in being convinced by the sluggish narrative flow and the esoteric aspects of coping with mourning, then unfortunately the whole thing isn't much more than extremely beautifully filmed boredom. And therefore only for the audience that likes to indulge in such somewhat bulky arthouse films, a clear one really applies: Worth seeing!
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