Suite Amoricaine. 2015. France. Directed by Pascale Breton. In French; English subtitles. 148 min.
In her first feature since her distinctive 2004 debut, Illumination, Pascale Breton returns to her native region of Brittany for this rapturous ensemble film about the persistence of the past in the present. Françoise (Valérie Dréville), an accomplished art historian, leaves Paris to teach at her alma mater in Rennes. Most of her former schoolmates never left town, it turns out, and are curiously eyeing her return. Meanwhile, Ion (Kaou Langoët), a sensitive geography student, falls in love with the blind Lydie (Manon Évenat), and clashes with his estranged, now-homeless mother, Moon (Elina Löwensohn), one of Françoise’s closest friends from the old punkrock days… As these idiosyncratic, richly drawn characters intersect, their points of view overlap and the tricks of time and memory become apparent. Bursting with ideas and emotion, Suite Armoricaine is a work of symphonic scope and grand themes (love and death, art and beauty, language and music) that finds deep wells of meaning in the smallest and most surprising details and gestures.