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The Son of Joseph

Eugène Green
Le Fils de Joseph
France, Belgium 2016 / 115’

We can safely say that Eugène Green is eccentric. As a 20-year-old, he left his native country, the United States, and settled permanently in Paris. He never returned home, and he will not even say the country's name. He does not use English and does not watch films produced there. In short, he cut off ties with his homeland completely. His passion is the study of French Baroque theater, whose rules he inculcated for years along with his company, Théâtre de la Sapience, before finding use for them in cinema. In his film world, he maintains a semblance of realism-the action takes place in modern settings-and everything is based on strictly defined rules, including the artificiality of performing, non-psychological acting techniques, a narrative form that is bereft of tension and that avoids getting caught up in the plot. The contrast between content and form often has a humorous effect. In Green's latest film, he puts ideas about the family taken from the Old and New Testament in a contemporary context. A teenager named Vincent, who is being raised by his mother, Maria, is looking for his father. Inspired by Caravaggio's painting Sacrifice of Isaac, he is planning a crime in which the victim will have to play the role his father, a callous and unethical publisher. Along the way, he meets Joseph, however, who, in spite of the circumstances, ends up forming a closer relationship with him than anyone else.

Agnieszka Szeffel

Eugène Green

Eugène Green is a director, actor, writer, and scholar. He was born in New York in 1947, but his entire career has been connected with France. He opened the Théâtre de la Sapience in 1977. He made his debut film, Toutes les nuits, for which he received a French critics award, the Prix Louis-Delluc, when he was 54 years old. He directed one of the segments in the triptych Memories, along with Pedro Costa and Harun Farocki. His fascination with European 17th century culture is on view in two of his earlier films, The Bridge of ArtsThe Portuguese Nun and Sapience.

Selected filmography

2001 Toutes les nuits

2003 Le monde vivant / The Living World

2004 Most artystów / Le pont des Arts

2006 Les signes (short)

2009 Portugalska zakonnica / A religiosa Portuguesa / The Portuguese Nun

2014 Sapientia / Sapience

Cast & Crew

director Eugène Green
screenplay Eugène Green
cinematography Raphaël O'Byrne
editing Valérie Loiseleux
cast Victor Ezenfis, Natacha Régnier, Fabrizio Rongione, Mathieu Amalric, Maria de Medeiros, Julia Gros de Gasquet
producer Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Didier Jacob, Francine Jacob, Alexander Akoka
production Coffee and Films, Les Films du Fleuve, Film Factory, TSF, En Haut des Marches, BE TV
sales Les Films du Losange
language French
colouration colour