The third film by Claude Mourieras deals with the complex realities of a family with so called “problem child”. Mourieras has finesse for rubbing out the lines between Fiction and documentary. In Mooncalf, shot on location at a farm in the Haute Savoie section of the French Alps, where the backdrop conveys both the grandeur of the mountains and nature’s brooding menace, the blend of professional actors and non-professionals from the area lends realism and immediacy to the story. “I wanted to make a Fictional film about ‘difference’ and began by creating the parts of Julien and his mother with the questions in mind: How far can you accept a child that doesn’t fit in? What does it feel like to live with this difference?” When the ‘mooncalf’ Julien, now 20-years old, was born, Jeanne, his mother, was told he was mentally defective and would never be ‘normal’ within accepted community standards. However, she refused to believe it, and has held steadfast over the years to the belief that her boy is beautiful even though both family and neighbours know that his weird actions might lead to tragedy. Yannick, the 17-year-old younger brother, would rather see Julien committed to an institution, While Marion, the 15-year-old sister, defends him. When the family signs up for therapy sessions to help handle the problem, the innate situations for laughter and humour that have kept the family going up to now, spill over into black comedy and Luc, the father, finds the courage to reveal a long-hidden family secret. Mouriera’s surprisingly comic film also succeeds to impress the audience without being sentimental.
Jean Vigo Award
5th Festival on Wheels