Marion Cotillard, a sister with a lot of hate in Desplechin’s disappointing ‘Brother and sister’

Marion Cotillard, a sister with a lot of hate in Desplechin's disappointing 'Brother and sister'

So far, French cinema is leaving a lot to be desired at this 75th edition of the Cannes festival. If the inaugural Coupez! already baffled by Hazanavicius’ bid for a totally unnecessary remake of a zombie comedy, the screening of BrothersArnaud Desplechin’s new work after Fantasies of a writer -seen at the BCN Film Fest- is a total disappointment.

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The French director invests almost two hours in bringing forward a family drama around the toxic relationship between two brothers. Marion Cotillard plays Alice, a renowned actress who hasn’t spoken to her younger brother Louis de Ella in twenty years, a writer played by Melvil Poupaud.

Marion Cotillard in a scene from the film

Marion Cotillard in a scene from the film

The film, which is up for the Palme d’Or, starts when she and her husband go to the house of the brother in question to offer their condolences for the death of their six-year-old son. Louis bursts into a rage when he sees his sister and her brother-in-law and blames them for not having met the deceased young man. After several years, a car accident in which her parents are involved, serves as a forced reunion and point of origin for the narration to investigate the origin of the conflict.

As a child, Alice was always the one who stood out and Louis took refuge in her arms. But she later admits that she couldn’t stand him having more fame. “I hate you,” she snaps at him with a smile during a past conversation. And so, with the portrait of that irrational hatred that does not cease over time and that divides the family, Desplechin combines resentment, death and mourning in a story that, despite the efforts of the actors, does not know where it is going and that It has already been thrashed by a large part of the criticism displaced to the contest.

Arnaud Desplechin, Marion Cotillard and Patrick Timsit during the screening of 'Frere et Soeur'

Arnaud Desplechin, Marion Cotillard and Patrick Timsit during the screening of ‘Frere et Soeur’


“Cinema helps me repair my fears and that is why this film is a journey towards the light,” said the director at a press conference in which Cotillard pointed out the duality of his character. “She’s tough and has a bad temper, but she’s also sweet and she loves her brother but she doesn’t know how to do it.”

Alice is a totally emotionally blocked woman. That is why she has revealed that during filming she preferred to avoid contact with Poupaud, not even exchanging a word, which was strange. “I needed to keep that distance and I didn’t want to explain it to him either, in fact I avoided him and I’m happy with the result, with the mystery that is created,” she pointed out before clarifying that at the end of filming she was able to apologize. It’s a shame that so much effort to get into the character is not worth it.

Alice is tough and has a bad temper, but she is also sweet and loves her brother but doesn’t know how to do it

Marion Cotillard

On the other hand, Cotillard, the director Cyril Dion and the producer Magali Payen have presented a new international production company at the festival, newtopiathat will bet on “ambitious stories that imagine a sustainable world”. Last year the French actress already promoted the documentary bigger than usabout the new generation of activists against climate change and other causes, in which she was also involved as a producer.


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