I read about this movie, and so deeply interested about the story line that I had to go and watch this flick. I do not understand French, nor the Dutch sub-titles. What I did was tried to search for sub-titles in English on the internet. Could not find one, so downloaded the sub-titles in Spanish, translated them to English and read the whole script of sub-titles before going for the movie. Surely it did not make much sense, but I depended on my memory to recollect the discussions between the painter and the gardener. Coming back home, I again re-read the sub-title script and recollected the images. That is how I saw and understood the movie. Though silly, that was the only and my way of doing enjoying this masterpiece.
The story is simple ? a famous painter Dupinceau (Daniel Auteuil) is fed up with life in Paris and has decided to move back to his village home to paint. He hires a gardener Dujardin (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) who turns out to me school class mate. A whole lifetime has passed from where they started at school ? remembering a prank the students played on their teacher?s birthday cake. They share their journey of life with each other ? through casual talks. The painter and gardener both experts in their fields are unique, in their perception of seeing things and understanding. Both of them become close friends ? and with ailing health of gardener, the painter takes him to Paris for treatment. A few years later when the gardener dies, the painter fulfills his wishes by drawing the common things of his gardener?s life ? to capture those memories of happiness and joys.
The simplicity of plot and the depth of discussion is so appealing that one fills fulfilled by just listening the gardener and painter talk ? you wish their talk would never end. This inspiring interest is created by Daniel and Jen-Pierre in living their roles perfectly on screen.
Seventy year old Director Jean Becker, who has also partly written the story takes us through this varied journey of life?s mysteries without letting us know that.
The innocent wittiness of gardener?s amazement and questions posed to the painter are the highlight of the movie ? that bring enlightenment of seeing things differently for painter and also for us.
The background musical score is spare, but wherever it is used, it is effective. There are a few sub-plots, but the movie does not digress from the main theme, and kudos to that track.
The most moving scene for me was when the two friends go for fishing, catch a big fish and then leave it back in the water alive and free again. Wonderful!
There are so many dialogues in questions, answers and casual exchanges ? that resonate with our souls. The last words of the gardener would ring in our hearts for years ? I would like that you painted something that I liked. And in the end - the painter does?
A classic, not to be missed ? only recommended for those who are willing to know their souls
(Stars 7.25 out fo 10)