Vincent, a French minister, seems to have everything that his heart desires: power, good looks, money and a mistress. Then he loses his job and ends up with nothing. That nothing turns out to be the beginning of a much truer life, in which he discovers the authentic existence of the ordinary man behind the meaningless facades of those in power. That ordinary man turns out to be in himself too.
Iosseliani’s latest parable shows how a man in the autumn of his life undergoes a profound initiation. It would not be Iosseliani if this rite de passage did not take place within a plot filled with irony and suggestive light-footedness. The classic Venus sculpture acquired by the mistress turns out to be a hollow plaster statue. Vincent cuts ribbons in a meadow in honour of a local agricultural custom, while in the background the cars race past on the motorway. The elderly mothers in the film, with Piccoli(!) as that of Vincent, continue to fulfil their archetypical mother roles even with their stranded adult sons. One of the happiest moments in Vincent's life is when he makes his own hooch in his modest studio. ‘Eat, drink and be merry’ would appear to have become his motto.
Iosseliani places his film in a Paris without the usual grandeur. Even more than that, he allows the former minister to end up happily under a bridge over the Seine among the homeless. (SdH)

International title
Gardens in Autumn
Filmmaker
Otar Iosseliani
Country
France, Italy, Russia
Year
2006
Medium
35mm
Length
117’
Language
French
Producer
Martine Marignac
Production Company
Pierre Grise Productions, Cinemaundici, Cinema Without Frontiers
Sales
Les Films du Losange
Writer
Otar Iosseliani
Cinematography
William Lubtchansky
Editor
Otar Iosseliani, Ewa Lenkiewicz
Production Design
Manu de Chauvigny, Yves Brover
Sound Design
Jérôme Thiault
Music
Nicolas Zourabichvili
Cast
Michel Piccoli, Severin Blanchet
Website
http://filmsdulosange.fr/en/film/66/gardens-in-autumn