Film Movement DVD Review: The Grocer's Son

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One of my favorite foreign films of 2008; I first encountered a screener of The Grocer's Son last June while working on summary contributions for the 8th Annual Scottsdale International Film Festival. Although there were many great inclusions, Grocer's Son was my favorite work served up at the festival by far and Eric Guirado's film hits Amazon and other retailers this week exclusively from our friends at Film Movement.

The film is presented in a stunning DVD transfer that's enhanced for widescreen televisions with its 16x9 display and complete with Film Movement's collectible packaging containing a personal note as to their reasons for its selection in their prestigious DVD-of-the-Month series as well as excerpts from an interview with the director. Additionally, the Region 1 DVD also boasts a compelling and incredibly timely short film from American director Eric Escobar.

Titled One Weekend a Month, we're quickly drawn in by the plight of a young single mother of two children who discovers via a series of phone calls that she's about to be deployed to Baghdad. As the National Guard member struggles to find a suitable "family care plan," Escobar's near twelve minute docudrama continues as our protagonist goes through a wide range of emotions all glimpsed from the innocent eyes of her young daughter.

An intriguing and intelligent companion piece to Grocer's Son as both deal with adult children being called back to the nest and having to face the past in a time of crisis, while Weekend's running time and the sheer urgency of Meg's situation suitably leaves us little chance to catch our breath, the French box office success Grocer's Son unfolds a bit more slowly, enveloping us in the film's picturesque countryside.

A coupon you'll definitely want to clip-- art-house fans charmed by The Station Agent and Pieces of April will find themeslves quickly longing to add Film Movement's The Grocer’s Son to their foreign film shopping list. Inspired by both director Eric Guirado’s love of road movies such as the Wim Wenders classic Paris, Texas as well as his own work as a television documentarian crafting cinematic portraits of traveling grocers over the course of eighteen months. Although it’s set during an idyllic summer, The Grocer’s Son is a warm celebration of the French countryside in the tradition of Eric Rohmer’s Autumn Tale.

After having traded what he perceived to be a dead-end existence in the south of France for the hustle and bustle of city life a decade earlier, thirty-year old Antoine sacrifices personal ambition for family duty when he reluctantly agrees to return to his home in Provence upon learning that his father has fallen ill. With his free-spirited, academically ambitious friend and crush Claire in tow, Antoine takes over his father’s work driving the family grocery delivery truck throughout the sleepy, sparsely populated and eccentric community.

And while journeying throughout the hamlets, Antoine is surprised to realize that he has a lot to learn, not only about the business which he finds fills an important human need throughout Provence, but his own life as well, while rediscovering the important things in life—namely, love, friendship and family.

Another high caliber work from Film Movement, the DVD collection continues next month with the release of the Italian drama, Days and Clouds.

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