In Harmony at PIAF Lotterywest Festival Films

Cécile De France and Albert Dupontel.
Cécile De France and Albert Dupontel.

WHEN sought-after film stunt man and horse trainer Marc Guermont (Dupontel) is injured on set, he is left without the use of his legs and is wheelchair bound.

Coming to terms with his condition, learning to literally get back on the horse and dealing with the insurance company takes its toll and he becomes bitter about his situation.

Pay negotiations between him and the company’s case officer Florence Kernel (De France) are drawn out, with the company doing its best to rip him off, but Marc is resistant.

Brought together by bureaucracy, the two develop an unlikely relationship; she inspires him to re-bond with the horse that caused his condition and he inspires her to take up her passion of playing the piano again.

Thesweet sentiment to this film is that we can find inspiration from the most unlikely places; these two found each other at a point in their lives where it was needed the most.

The two actors are mesmerising on screen, with De France given a rare multi-layered female lead to bring to life in what is usually an afterthought in these kinds of dramas that tend to focus on the male lead.

Where this story falters slightly is in the inevitable romance between the two.

Had this remained platonic, it could have been much more powerful and affecting; instead the romance feels more like a tacked on cliché that Hollywood hastens to include as opposed to a natural development.

Sweet without being nauseating, moving without being melodramatic, En équilibre (In Harmony) is a subtle piece of storytelling.

En équilibre (In Harmony) screens as part of the Perth International Arts Festival Lotterywest Festival Films. Program and tickets at www.perthfestival.com.au.

THE ESSENTIALS

En équilibre (In Harmony) (M)

Directed by: Denis Dercourt

Starring: Albert Dupontel, Cécile De France

Three and a half stars

Review by Julian Wright