Le Grand Chemin

France’s biggest domestic box-office success of 1987 stars Anemone, Richard Bohringer, Antoine Hubert, and Vanessa Guedj, and was written and directed by Jean-Loup Hubert. The film is a family melodrama concerning marital discord, rape, and other kinds of violence, much of which ensues when a childless couple in the country (Anemone and Bohringer) take in a nine-year-old boy from the city and he befriends a neighboring tomboy. Interestingly, this theme of a little boy from the city coming of age through his exposure to harsh country ways has a lot more resonance in France than it does here; Hubert’s conventional direction of this semiautobiographical tale, in which his own son is cast as the little boy, is sincere but plodding, and only the performance of Bohringer (the Zen master in Diva) provides a few sparks. (JR)

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