American writer Tom Ricks comes to Paris desperate to put his life together again and win back the love of his estranged wife and daughter. When things don’t go according to plan, he ends up in a shady hotel in the suburbs, having to work as a night guard to make ends meet. Then Margit, a beautiful, mysterious stranger walks into his life and things start looking up. Their passionate and intense relationship triggers a string of inexplicable events… as if an obscure power is taking control of his life. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]
Growing up in Liverpool in 1955, and raised by his aunt and late uncle, John is a smart, spirited, but directionless, teen who skips school, steals records, and is told he’s going nowhere. Having brought rock music into the “house of Tchaikovsky,” John widens the rift with Aunt Mimi when he seeks out his estranged mother, to whom he forms an immediate attachment. Full of energy and sexuality, his mother encourages John’s interest in music, inflaming the rivalry with her sister, Mimi. In opening the door to a painful past, John seeks refuge in music—a journey that leads to The Beatles. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]
Fresh from her remarkable, award-winning role in last year’s Il y a longtemps que je t’aime, Kristin Scott Thomas returns to the Festival opposite the smouldering Catalan actor Sergi Lopez in Catherine Corsini’s gripping tale of a mid-life affair in southern France.
A gunshot erupts in the night, puncturing the quiet of a slumbering house. From this ominous opening, Partir jumps back in time several months. Suzanne (Scott Thomas) is preparing to return to work as a physiotherapist after years at home caring for her brusque doctor husband, Samuel (Yvan Attal), and her teenaged son and daughter. Samuel hires Ivan (Lopez) to build Suzanne her own backyard clinic. A former convict with a young daughter in Spain, Ivan responds cautiously at first to Suzanne’s natural warmth. But when an accident brings the two closer together, social barriers give way to mutual attraction. As their relationship intensifies, Suzanne leaves her bewildered husband and children, abandoning her comfortable lifestyle for Ivan’s cramped apartment. Practical matters soon disturb the lovers, however. Ivan can’t work because of an injured leg, and Suzanne, thwarted by her aggrieved husband, is reduced to doing odd jobs. With money growing scarcer, she becomes increasingly desperate.
Corsini sets a simmering mood from the outset, contrasting the cool, clean aesthetic of the domestic space with Suzanne’s sun-kissed vitality. Yet for all the heat of the affair, Partir is in essence the story of a family in freefall. While the daughter echoes her father’s anger at Suzanne, the son remains loyal, and his attempts to support his mother as she veers further and further away from the woman he knew are truly touching. [Synopsis courtesy of TIFF]
Julia Jarmond (Kristin Scott Thomas), an American journalist married to a Frenchman, is commissioned to write an article about the notorious Vel d’Hiv round up, which took place in Paris, in 1942. She stumbles upon a family secret which will link her forever to the destiny of a young Jewish girl, Sarah. Julia learns that the apartment she and her husband Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand’s family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers – especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive – the more she uncovers about Bertrand’s family, about France and, finally, herself. [Synopsis courtesy of the film’s site]