With a title borrowed from Kipling ,"Tu Seras Mon Fils" is one of the best French contemporary movies.I have the strange feeling that Gilles Legrand was able,not a small feat,to capture what was great in the old glorious cinema,particularly that of Julien Duvivier , with whom he shares the same pessimism and an unusual depiction of nastiness ,of cruelty ,transferred to the realities of our times.
Nils Arestrup,too often cast in supporting parts,gives a terrifying performance of a wealthy man , a viticulturist whose vintage wine he treasures and who despises his son,Martin;He cannot talk to him without demeaning,humiliating him,going as far as to accuse him of causing the death of his mother when they visit her grave ;"you do not belong here;"you're no good at anything" "if you do not know,ask Philippe".
Philippe ,the foreman's son ,is exactly the kind of son the father longs for;besides ,Phil's father,is dying of cancer:so why not adopt him and send Martin away from the valuable property?"you change sons as you change your shoes" says the daughter-in-law who desperately supports Martin.
The father's game is subtle:when he is awarded the Legion D'Honneur,he takes his new "son" to Paris with him in a luxury hotel (he gives HIS surname to Philippe when he books the rooms),he poses for the press with him by his side ("the newspaper reads "with his son" ,says Phil's mother,they must have made a mistake") Nils Arestrup never overplays but he really makes us believe he is a monster ;the rest of the cast rises to the occasion:Patrick Chesnais ,terminally ill,seeing him take his own son away from him;Valerie Mairesse ,as his wife ,who sees clearer than he does;and the two boys,one very shy with a low self -esteem (two gripping scenes:the self-inflicted wound with the secateurs in the vineyard;the nightmare in which he sees his (monstrous) father trying to drown him in a vat of wine) ;the other one,the fine boy with good prospects, so sure of himself ,who's just back from California where he had a very good job.
With an unusually good sense of space (the vineyard is remarkably filmed),a dense screenplay,lines to rival the best of Henri Jeanson,Charles Spaak or Henri-Georges Clouzot,Gilles Legrand blew my mind;Two comments so far !!it would deserve a hundred of them!yes it would!