By Jean-Pascal HATTU


Drama - Completed 2006

    • Year of production
    • 2006
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Countries
    • FRANCE
    • Languages
    • FRENCH
    • Director(s)
    • Jean-Pascal HATTU
    • Synopsis
    • Young filmmakers in France are proving courageous and adept at transforming simple ideas - particularly around physical attractions and needs - into transcendentally emotional work. This bodes well for the future of their national cinema, and is producing some exceptional pleasures for audiences at this year's Festival. In 7 ans, first-time feature filmmaker Jean-Pascal Hattu tackles an unusual love triangle between a woman, her incarcerated husband and a prison guard. When Maïté (Valérie Donzelli) tries to visit her swaggering Mediterranean mate, Vincent (Bruno Todeschini), in jail, complications ensue and she finds herself in conversation with a meek, hesitant prison guard named Jean (Cyril Troley). Meanwhile, she becomes increasingly drawn to a young boy she babysits (Pablo De La Torre), and this turns her thoughts to family. At first put off by Jean's advances, she eventually enjoys the secret thrill of being with him. But as their relationship becomes intimate, strange things begin to happen. Jean starts recording elements of their encounters - her scent, the sounds of her orgasms. We learn that he is collecting for the benefit of Vincent, for it is he who has somehow set the affair in motion. The relationship between husband and guard is codependent, emotionally raw and has a deeply underscored tension - a kind of homosocial amour fou. As the film progresses, it becomes increasingly unclear who is controlling whom - and what motives drive each. While this kind of material might have soap-opera potential, Hattu is a remarkably disciplined social realist. Individual, quietly wrought moments reveal characters' emotional depth and their oblique and complex intentions. The camera is an observer, unhurried and often still, as it captures the low-key, reflective performances. This is anti-melodrama and, as such, yields much greater rewards for the audience. 7 ans is a mature and thoughtful debut from an extremely promising filmmaker.