Daddy Nostalgia

Not only is Jane Birkin at her best in this low-key, realistic 1990 drama, she’s also the element that ties the whole thing together. Directed by Bertrand Tavernier from a script by his ex-wife, Colo Tavernier O’Hagan, it’s basically a chamber piece for three voices about a Parisian screenwriter (Birkin), separated from her husband, who visits her ailing English father (Dirk Bogarde) and her French mother (Odette Laure) in a small villa on the Cote d’Azur, trying to create a closeness with her father that she has never felt (she speaks mainly English with her father and mainly French with her mother, from whom she feels even more remote). The characteristic strength of Tavernier’s direction is its capacity to take these unexceptional people as he finds them. A few fleeting flashbacks and snippets of offscreen narration barely intrude on the relatively eventless but finely nuanced action. Contributing to Antoine Duhamel’s score is jazz pianist Jimmy Rowles, and Birkin herself and Rowles sing These Foolish Things. In English and subtitled French. 112 min. (JR)

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