'Felix and Meira' ('Felix et Meira'): San Sebastian Review

Posted By on October 1, 2014

Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival

Opposites attract -- very slowly

Toronto Film Festival (Contemporary World Cinema); San Sebastian Film Festival (Competition)

Hadas Yaron, Matin Dubreuil, Luzer Twersky

Maxime Giroux

A married Hasidic woman and a single and penniless man in early middle age who has just lost his very rich father slowly -- very slowly -- fall for each other in Felix and Meira (Felix et Meira), from French-Canadian director Maxime Giroux. Like the directors previous feature, Jo for Jonathan, this is a minutely observed story of great modesty that thrives on transformations so tiny, the film deserves to be seen on the big screen. However, beyond local and festival engagements, this unspectacular story of the forbidden attraction between a very patient man and a reticent woman will be very hard to market.

Felix (Martin Dubreuil) has come back to the family mansion to see his ailing father, whos on his way out. They havent seen each other for a long time and theres a sense that Felixs last-minute visit is something he does because its the proper thing to do, rather than because of any need for closure for whatever may have separated them. After his death, the devil-may-care Felix isnt even necessarily interested in his inheritance; when his sister tells him shell give him access to the money only if he comes up with a decent plan to invest or use it, he seems not all that concerned.

Family is supposed to be everything for Meira (Hadas Yaron), whos married to the very religious Schlumi (Luzer Twersky), with whom she has a small child. But here, too, Giroux and his regular co-screenwriter, Alexandre Laferriere, signal that the life that would logically be laid out for them doesnt quite fit the protagonist. Meira doesnt want any other children -- much to the shock of a fellow Hasidic housewife, who mutters "But its our duty!" -- and she loves music, much to the exasperation of Schlumi, who tells her to "turn these distortions off" and to "stop behaving like a child" when she falls down and pretends to be dead.

Its inevitable that these two fundamentally unhappy characters will recognize something of that discontent in each other when they run into each other several times over the course of a couple of days in the mixed Montreal neighborhood where they both live. Though Felix is something of a happy-go-lucky guy, his fathers death has made him perhaps more aware of his need to live for something or someone possibly Meira, whose attraction to Felix is complicated not only by the fact that Felix is godless, but also by the fact that her husband is essentially a decent, God-fearing man. To further complicate matters, they dont really speak the same language;Meira speaks Yiddish and Felix speaks French, forcing them to occasionally converse in English, though the film's treatment of their language differences is not always coherent (Meira occasionally speaks French).

Giroux largely takes the time observing the two adults getting to know each other. Indeed, theres a sense thatMeira, especially, needs that time to ease herself into something as reckless as an extramarital affair. Even so, the pacing of Giroux and his regular editor Mathieu Bouchard-Malo (he also cut recent Quebec titleLove in the Time of Civil War, another observational film with little narrative meat on its bones) often feels a tad too unhurried, since so little happens from one minute to the next and theres not enough backstory or character information for audiences to fill in all the silent moments.

The rest is here:

'Felix and Meira' ('Felix et Meira'): San Sebastian Review

Related Posts


Comments are closed.

matomo tracker