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Valley of Love

Gérard Depardieu and Isabell Huppert play two actors, who had a son thirty years ago, but whose relationship fell apart long ago. A letter sent by their son on the day he killed himself brings them to Death Valley.


Isabell Huppert is wearing a colorful, flowery dress and is on her way to a hotel in California. The camera follows her so we can’t see her face but we immediately recognize her narrow Huppert shoulders, her Huppert hair, and her Huppert walk. One of the biggest female stars of European cinema meets one of the biggest male stars of European cinema, Gérard Depardieu, in Death Valley. They play two actors that had a child together 30 years ago. The relationship has long been over and their son is dead. He wrote a letter to them both before his suicide in which he promises to physically return if they follow his instructions and go to certain locations in the desert every day. Gérard sees it as a kind of punishment, since both of them have been estranged from their son for a long time. Isabell sees the letter as an opportunity to grieve and spend time together. Yet she can’t take her hands off her smartphone, even though she can’t contact anyone. Something is off about Isabell and Gérard. She is too thin, he is too fat. She needs a different kind of connection, and he has something within him that needs to come out. They finish the ritual, which is also a magical evocation, in the glistening desert backdrop.
VALLEY OF LOVE is reminiscent of Eric Rohmer’s philosophical films wherein existential questions were dealt with in the every day. This wonderful film by Guillaume Nicloux contains very funny moments, but never gives in to the inhuman, brutal idea that one needs to take the serious things in life like grief, dead, and illness, with humor. The comedy stems from daily life, not tragedy. The tragedy is heartbreaking, not funny. Strange things happen in Death Valley, there are horrific moments and moments of fear, but love is conjured as well.

Tom Dorow

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Frankreich 2015, 91 min
Genre: Drama
Director: Guillaume Nicloux
Author: Guillaume Nicloux
DOP: Christophe Offenstein
Montage: Guy Lecorne
Distributor: Concorde Filmverleih
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Gérard Depardieu, Dan Warner, Dionne Houle
Release: 21.01.2016




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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