The Father: Florian Zeller makes a successful directorial debut [critique]

Two Oscars came to reward the adaptation of his own play, carried by an exceptional duo: Anthony Hopkins-Olivia Colman.

First TV broadcast for The Father, this evening on Canal + (encrypted therefore). Florian Zeller’s film was very popular with First upon leaving, and is in our top 10 of 2021.

The father will remain a work apart in the career of Florian Zeller. That of the first times. First Molière for the best play in 2014. First production of a feature film. And first Oscar, that of the best adaptation, followed by that of the best actor. Yes, for Zeller, The father was a game changer repeat. And the excellent rumor that preceded The Father since the 2020 Sundance festival was not lying. Brought to the cinema, this work has in fact lost none of that emotional power that grips you in front of the inner trajectory of this 81-year-old man gradually losing his memory and his bearings.

But by going behind the camera, Zeller above all had the great idea of ​​bringing his text to life in a different way, far from the banal filmed theatre. The Father is lived like a puzzle of which, at each moment of the plot, a piece will always be missing. The camera movements, the construction of the story, these characters (daughter, son-in-law, home help…) who appear and disappear abolish the border between reality, the memories, the dreams and the nightmares of this wavering father. Zeller’s intelligence is to inject cerebrality into this ocean of emotions and thus prevent the tear from taking everything in its path. And the remark applies to the interpretation of Anthony Hopkins, more interiorized and stripped down than that of Robert Hirsch on stage. Because Zeller is aware that the camera magnifies everything and that in this exceptional duo that Hopkins forms with Olivia Colman, a simple glance exchanged is often worth more than a thousand words.

By Florian Zeller. With Anthony Hopkins, Olivia Colman, Imogen Poots… Duration: 1h38. Released May 26, 2021

Florian Zeller – The Father: from stage to screen

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