Originally produced by Humbert Balsan before his death in 2005, Mia Hansen-Løve’s All Is Forgiven (Tout est pardonné) recalls the muted, slow brewing, slice of life implosions of Stefan Krohmer’s Summer 04 and Valeska Grisebach’s Longing, as well as the naturalistic, organic narrative and chance intersections of Barbara Albert’s cinema to create a raw and distilled, yet intimate and insightfully rendered rumination on the nature of connection, longing, regret, and forgiveness. Composed of a series of elliptical, self-contained episodes of the quotidian that collectively reveal the fragments of a disintegrating relationship, the film is also a reflection of human memory in its lucid, essential reconstitution – and awareness – of (life)time passed: Annette’s (Marie-Christine Friedrich) frequent castigation of Victor’s (Paul Blain) excessive drinking, his frequent absences from family outings with their daughter Pamela (Victoire Rousseau) to meet a drug dealer, his increasing disenchantment with his life as an underemployed translator and frustrated poet in Vienna that would lead to their decision to uproot the family move back to Paris, a conversation between Victor and his sister, Martine (Carole Franck) that exposes the fissures in his passionate, but volatile relationship with his devoted and long-suffering partner, a chance encounter with a drug dealer’s friend, Gisèle (Olivia Ross) during a party that would lead him to the abyss of heroin addiction, and ultimately, his separation from his family. Shot using hand-held DV cameras, Hansen-Løve’s aesthetic juxtaposition of saturated light against vérité-styled images that convey a sense of raw immediacy creates an unexpected coherence between disparate images that evokes the spirit of German Romanticism in its expositions on the duality of nature. It is this poetic transfiguration of the banal that is implicitly revealed in Victor’s letter to his absent daughter, now an adolescent (Constance Rousseau), a passage adapted from Romantic poet Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff that articulates both the reassurance of eternal devotion and regret of missed opportunity.
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