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Daddy Nostalgia Movie Review

bogarde tavernier birkin film

Dirk Bogarde and Jane Birkin in a film by Bertrand Tavernier? Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Regretfully, Daddy Nostalgia, which sounds terrific on paper, is slow as molasses to watch. Tavernier's own father was dying as the film was being made, but the director chose to approach the subject of mortality at an oblique angle and the results are false and boring. Birkin's character is filled with adolescent concerns and behavior, a bit weird to watch in a woman of 45. And sorry, I just can't accept a screen personality as strong as Bogarde as he mopes around a French villa, waiting to die. He may have been able to pull it off in Death in Venice, but Tavernier isn't Visconti and screenwriter Colo Tavernier O'Hagan isn't Thomas Mann. The threadbare premise of the film is that Birkin's character was neglected as a child and she still yearns for Daddy's approval 40 years later. Bogarde is an insensitive, unappealing lout who can't talk with either his French wife (Odette Laure) or his very British daughter. Birkin has agreed to visit for a pre-determined amount of time, and when the time is up, she leaves. The last act occurs off camera, so nothing much happens for 105 minutes except that you get a chance to see how Bogarde looks and sounds these days (great, on both counts). Too bad his first theatrical feature since 1978 is such a sluggish vehicle. Bogarde deserves a much better swan song than Daddy Nostalgia. AKA: These Foolish Things; Daddy Nostalgie.

1990 105m/C FR Dirk Bogarde, Jane Birkin, Odette Laure; D: Bertrand Tavernier; W: Colo Tavernier O'Hagan; C: Denis Lenoir; M: Antoine Duhamel. VHS

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