Never has cruelty been showcased in such a ravishing landscape; blackness of human nature set in luscious loveliness, a Bordeaux vineyard run by obsessive, perfectionist “Paul de Marseul” (brilliant interpretation by Niels Arestrup); a Beelzebub, with a Faustian tongue whose “grapes” reap more respect than any man. Director/writer Gilles Legrande paints a portrait of evil, so profound, overwhelmingly egregious, it will disturb one’s dreams for a fortnight.
Paul’s son “Martin” (poignant, sensitive depiction by Lorant Deutsch) educated, worshiping his father but maligned, belittled, thwarted with his every suggestion; physically slight, overpowered by his father’s girth, colossal ego; he is squashed emotionally and psychologically. Paul’s partner, “Francois” is dying of cancer; Martin begs to take over the harvest; monstrous Paul hires “Philippe”, (handsome Nicholas Bridet) François’s son, shunning his legitimate heir, leading to a succinct, fascinating dynamic.
Legrande’s genius lies in knowing when the boundaries are challenged, flirting with the edge; levity alleviates the pain of epic, atrocious actions. Martin’s wife “Alice” (gorgeous Anne Marivin) consummately loyal; she cannot be bought, bribed or seduced; supplying mettle, a bastion of resilience, fortifying Martin’s hellish existence; recognizing the devious, amoral, lecherous behavior of Paul, she bests him at every encounter.
The link that binds these disparate individuals is the all -consuming, irresistible, amorous lure of wine; libation, cognac of the gods; its palliative power temporarily eases animosity; while imbibing the perfect blend, their passionate responses are enthralling, orgasmic in intensity. The breathtaking brightness of the vineyard scenes, cloaked the corroded, diseased mantel of the human condition.
As difficult as it was viewing, “You Will Be My Son”, immaculately filmed and acted, I would not forfeit one excruciating minute.