To say this is a strange and interesting film doesn’t begin to describe the Opening Night and Paris Premiere of “Valley of Love” by Guillaume Nicloux, which had its World Premier in competition at Cannes last month.
Starring two of Europe’s most famous actors (Isabelle Hupert and Gérard Dépardieu) who play two lost souls on a mystical mission in one of the most barren,
frightening and glorious places on earth – Death Valley.
Speaking in French, Isabelle and Gérard, lovers and parents in their youth but now separated for many years and really not knowing each other anymore, just
lost their adult son Michael, a gay man.
However, 6 months after his death, they each receive a strange and compelling letter from him in which he beckons each of them to come together for a
reunion, a meeting with him in Death Valley, in various places on succeeding days.
Despite the absurdity of the situation, the now much older mother and father each decide to go there and wait for Michael.
The film then, in glorious locales, becomes a dialogue between two strangers about their lives, their former connection, and about a son whom both barely
The two actors are fascinating. Dépardieu seems particularly lost and even speaks about his vast girth (He IS fat!!!) which seems symbolic of his wasted
life and he doesn’t hesitate here to show it off.
Hupert, whenever she is on screen, takes over and rages with amazing skill about her anger, disappointment and loss of the son she mourns but hardly knew.
The film is a compelling, interesting discourse on life’s disappointments set in a vast mysterious location. The spiritual upheaval both characters
experience at the end throws their confused, lost lives further into question in ways they never expected.
Guillaume Nicloux – director
Guillaume Nicloux – screenplay
Sylvie Pialat – producer
Abut the Director
From experimental cinema (“The Flying Children,” “Punctured Life”) to his triptych of noir films (A Private Affair, Hanging Offense, The Key
), from unconventional comedy (The Octopus, Holiday) to political film (“The Gordji Affair”), through to drama (“Happiness Is No Joke,” “La Reine des Connes”), Guillaume Nicloux’s work is dense and highly personal. “La Religieuse” and “L’Enlèvement” de Michel Houellebecq, presented at the
last Berlinale Film Festival, is no exception. “Valley of Love,” shot in the USA, starring Gérard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert, is his 15th film. Guillaume
Nicloux is also a novelist and he has been teaching at Femis for ten years.