André Téchiné's wartime drama is an oddly beguiling compound of savagery and serenity. It begins on a country road in la France profonde as German fighter-planes strafe and bomb the helpless natives: from the burning chaos a young widow (Emmanuelle Béart) and her two children flee into the woods, helped by an illiterate tearaway (Gaspard Ulliel).
Reaching an abandoned château, the fugitives move in, though while it offers temporary shelter from the war it immerses them in barely understood cross-currents of attraction. Téchiné examines this little menage with a humane yet dispassionate eye, and conjures from it a weirdly enchanted atmosphere slightly reminiscent of The Go-Between. It's not entirely convincing, and looks very poorly edited, but the insistent mood of abandonment and loss is marvellously sustained.Reuse content