La Vérité by Hirokazu Kore’eda

Kore-eda’s movie looks for the gaps between realism and cinema: that is where he creates a suspended world, in which Catherine Deneuve shines brightly.

In one of their most well-known songs Handsome Boy Modeling School “sang” “You can’t hide from the truth because the truth is all there is”, it is quite a good rule to live by, yet one of golden rules of cinema asks for something different: reality is sacrificed to the demon of creativity, as the voracious appetite of the seventh art asks for it.
Both the points stated above are poignantly proved and debunked, at the same time, by Hirokazu Kore’eda’s last work: La Vérité.

This movie, starring Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche, features dialogues both in French and English, a choice that raised many questions since there are no similar precedents in the Japanese director’s filmography. But Kore-eda’s ability to capture intimacy did not suffer from such decision, if anything his incredible wit shines greatly through the words of his bilingual script. 

La Vérité depicts the story of Fabienne (Catherine Deneuve) a – almost fallen – star of French cinema. When she publishes her memoirs her daughter Lumir (Juliette Binoche) a screen-player returns from New York to Paris, with her husband (Ethan Hawke) a B movie actor and her daughter, to celebrate what seems to be a jolly moment. The reunion though quickly turns into a moment of confrontation as the book written by the protagonist is far from reality: as hidden truths are revealed, resentments bursts.

As the narration proceeds to display the story of a great diva, publishing her memoirs as an act of resistance asking “forget me not”, it is hard to discern Catherine Deneuve from her vibrant and cynical – yet lovable – character: the French actress manages to portray a narcissistic actress whose obsession for the world of cinema has taken its toll on her life. We met her giving an interview to promote her book entitled “The Truth”, yet when confronted by her incredulous daughter, she blatantly admits that as a performer she would never say the truth as “it is not interesting”.

Kore’eda’s dialogues are marked by a delicate comedy, a gentle humor capable of capturing a story that is in between worlds, among fiction and realism within his own creation, as his beautifully crafted narration masterfully puts to test the viewer, asking him to discern whether or not the protagonist is true to herself and to understand if such tailored character is always acting, even when she is seemly being open and honest. This is the strength of the movie: it is the result of a meditation on roles, lies and how sometimes it is so hard to discern what is real, above all when the mind is so easy to trick and memories can be deceitful. 

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