The High Herbs: Arte’s mini-series impresses [critique]

In the tall grass

With this rural miniseries, Jérôme Bonnell mixes genres and describes the muted violence that sometimes hides behind romantic relationships.

If you liked The house in the woods (1971), Dear Lea (2021) or Clear eyes (2005), First advise you the new mini-series of Arte, The tall grass. Created by Jérôme Bonnell, and worn by Emmanuelle Devos, Louise Chevillotte and Jonathan Couzinié, it arrives this Thursday, December 30 on the channel’s website and will be visible until February. Here is our review.

Jérôme Bonnell has been tracing his path in French cinema for twenty years, far from media awards, to film with talent the complexity of love and sentimental setbacks (I’m waiting for someone, Adventure time). By switching to the 3 x 52 minute miniseries, the filmmaker can deploy a diverse gallery of characters, push emotional involvement further and mix genres in surprising ways. Located in Touraine, the intrigue of Tall grass draws the portrait of several inhabitants: a woman living alone (Emmanuelle Devos) who maintains distant relations with her daughter, a couple (Louise Chevillotte and Jonathan Couzinié) who welcomes for the summer a boy whose mother is hospitalized, a rural guard (India Hair) with an enterprising character …

The sentimental round will however quickly turn into a suspense thriller (as in The Queen of Clubs) when a seasonal worker mysteriously disappears. By also evoking the pauperization of the countryside since the financial crisis of 2008 and by recounting the closure of a local factory, the series is adorned with a social dimension and succeeds in exacerbating the tensions and anger of the protagonists. The atmosphere of violence and concealment, often filmed from a child’s height, impresses and reveals from an angle that is both solar and tragic the work of a filmmaker who recreates, thanks to a perfect cast, the innocence and the cruelty of timeless tales.

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