Last Dance (2022) Locarno Film Festival

August 8th, 2022
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir/Wri: Delphine Lehericey | Cast: Francois Berleand, Kacey Mottet Klein, Deborah Lukumuena, Dominique Reymond, Astrid Whettnall, Sabine Timoteo, Jean-Benoit Uguez | Comedy, 90′

A delightfully bittersweet Swiss Belgian comedy drama starring Francois Berleand as a po-faced widower coping with the loss of his wife and the unwanted intrusion of his well-meaning loved ones.

Last Dance mulls over familiar territory when it comes to bereavement: and for 75-year-old Germain the grief is sudden and heart felt. But he hardly has time to recover with the constant intrusive ‘phone calls to check on his well-being (and relieve the callers’ anxiety); not to mention the stream of unsolicited pies and casseroles (which he duly feeds to the cat.) Family visits never seem to stop – or end – and he wonders why his kids are unable to stick to their weekly visiting rota that he could really do without (Carole is Tuesday, Matthieu, Friday – or was it the other way round).

Lise (Reymond), his much loved wife of 50 years, was heavily into volunteering and experimental dance in a troupe led by the domineering choreographer ‘La Ribot’ (Lukumuena) and Samar (Mottet Klein) and in a bid to show willing, Germain feels obliged to take Lise’s place enacting a series of avant-garde movements that feel entirely awkward, causing him to break his bedside lamp rehearsing in the privacy of his bedroom. But he puts his foot down to the idea of taking on a mentorship for a young student until his daughter insists it will be good for his ‘mental health’. So student and mentor eventually come to a ‘win win’ situation that suits both of them – but will anyone benefit from their arrangement?.

Delphine Lehericey directs her witty insightful script with great confidence and dexterity and the performances all round are really spot on. There are some laughs to be had too in this deadpan tongue-in-cheek story about a man who resolutely refuses to mourn, in the conventional sense, after a lifetime of happiness with his lost love. MT


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