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  • Fiona Prior

Back to Burgundy

Back to Burgundy

Director: Cédric Klapisch

I wish I was knowledgeable about wine, for Cédric Klapisch’s ‘Back to Burgundy’ is as much about the reality of wine production as it is about the characters that inhabit his film-scape. I am ignorant regarding the vocabulary of viticulture or the love it evokes in consumers. I mentioned this regret to my friend on the night we viewed ‘Back to Burgundy’; that I’d love to be able to describe this movie as one of those wordy descriptions of wine where phrases like ‘cheeky sophistication’, ‘subtle complexity’ and ‘great legs’ are thrown around with knowledge.

What did resonate with me in ‘Back to Burgundy’ was the depiction of the affection and understanding you find in families and communities in rural environments who make their livings from the land and who have farmed the land for generations.

'Back to Burgundy' begins when the prodigal eldest son returns to the family vineyard in Burgundy, prompted by the impending death of his father and reunites with his brother and sister.

We then explore their atmospheric vineyard, family home and property over miles and seasons; almost tasting the grapes, feeling them squash between our fingers and toes and smelling the sweetly pungent scent as they are crushed beneath our nostrils or rot on the earth. Of course, this is all accompanied by feeling the warmth of the sun on our shoulders, or the harsh bitterness of winds against our cheeks and/or the sheets of rain plummeting down as a frenzy of harvesting takes place to race the damage of mould and mildew.

And of those humans who share the script with Mother Nature in ‘Back to Burgundy’? Our prodigal son Jean (Pio Marmaï) has a gorgeous girlfriend and youngster back at his struggling vineyard in Australia. Sister Juliette (Ana Girardot) is the most knowledgeable of the siblings regarding the vineyard, but still unsure of herself as business manager and Jérémie (François Civil, the youngest brother) has a child himself but is not quite an adult. As our characters mature along with their grapes we settle into a bucolic daze.

This is not one of those movies where you see nothing of the perfunctory work that occurs daily outside of the drama and romance of the main characters. ‘Back to Burgundy’ features the drama and romance of nature as much as of humans who inhabit the land, cut back the vines, irrigate, monitor, pick, crush and ultimately sell and consume the heady produce.

Back to Burgundy’ may not knock your socks off but it will definitely make you quietly glow. Director Klapisch has captured the elegant communion of human and nature found in so many rural areas all over the world.

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