A Sunday in the Country | Chicago Reader

A Sunday in the Country

Craftsmanship, intelligence, and refined sentiment are the hallmarks of Bertrand Tavernier's exquisite French feature (1984), a model of how much ground can be covered with the smallest movements. In 1912 an elderly painter (Louis Ducreux) is visited at his country home by his straitlaced son (Michel Aumont) and his family; the old man's daughter, a flighty vision in white (Sabine Azema), arrives unexpectedly but leaves early. That's about all that happens, yet Tavernier, through his fluid, concentrated camera style, control of light, and nuanced direction of actors, turns the anecdotal material into a penetrating study of family dynamics and a moving account of an elderly artist realizing his work may not withstand the test of time. The two themes are woven together with beauty and force, emotionally fused in a climactic sequence that links the white of the daughter's gown to the summoning blankness of a fresh canvas. In French with subtitles. G, 95 min.

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