Back in 2011, it premiered ‘Footer’, with which Joseph Cedar led Israel to apply as one of the Oscar nominees for the best international film (it lost to the Iranian ‘Nader and Simin. A separation’). It was the last time that the Mediterranean country opted for the statuette. A production that attracted attention, to the point of becoming a story to be adapted to another reality.
This is what has happened and what has been translated into ‘Master(s)’, the new work by Frenchman Bruno Chiche, who returns five years later after ‘Honey, I am you’. 11 years after ‘Pie de página’, the story has been completely converted and manages to become one of those examples of how French cinematography is capable of producing productions that achieve that balance between commercial and auteur cinema.
If ‘Pie de página’ raised the historical legacy through the figures of the intellectuals who have built Israel, ‘Maestro(s)’ turns it into a musical conversation between two orchestra conductors, father and son, who compete in an intergenerational discussion related to the perspective of how to see music. Far from being seen as a way to lighten the plot, this reinterpretation towards the cultural sphere could not be more accurate, giving it a different background that gives it its own identity.
Pierre Arditi and Yvan Attal live a majestic interpretive duel
It is precisely this aspect that makes ‘Maestro(s)’ not only a stupendous reinterpretation of ‘Pie de página’, but also an ideal feature film to see how the egos between parents and children hide how the parent-child bond is able to show its less comfortable side and how the expression ‘kill the father’ takes on special relevance in artistic vocations, in which one parent is separated more by age. On the other hand, seeing a father jealous of his son is a bid to collapse the myths about family relationships.
And this story, in which Chiche, who signs the script along with Yaël Langmann and Cecilia Rouaud, manages to balance the drama of how a son ‘kills’ (metaphorically speaking) his father and having a certain light tone that allows empathy with his companions. For this, the tape has two magnificent actors. On one side Pierre Arditi, on the other Yvan Attal. They both know how to embody that father and that son who love each other but whose pride prevents them from directly resolving their differences. Mention for Miou-Miou, like that mother who has to play the role of referee.
‘Master(s)’ is a good adaptation, one of those films that knows how to dazzle with the charisma of its characters and that brings this intergenerational conversation to the field of culture. Chiche is right to bet on a more dramatic and solemn tone, far from the archetypal comedy.
The best: The scene where father and son sit down to talk.
Worst: It’s too conventional at times.