Monday, August 18, 2014
'The Auction' DVD: Poignant Canadian Tale of Lear-like Father
The uber-awesome purveyor of top-notch independent foreign movies Film Movement brings things a little closer to home regarding one of the two August 2014 selections in its exceptional Film of the Month Club.
The 2013 Canadian drama "The Auction" is a modern-day "King Lear" story about 63 year-old sheep farmer (and his fool) Gaby Gagnon, who makes a large sacrifice to help a daughter who is not adequately ungrateful to warrant a comparison to a serpent's tooth but who does not show appropriate appreciation.
The companion (and Unreal TV reviewed) August 2014 Film Club selection "Grigris" comes from Chad.
Gaby is largely happy living with his dog and his herd of sheep on his Quebec farm when "good" daughter Marie asks during a weekend visit if her father will give her money regarding which she asserts a strong need. The manner in which Marie makes that request is slightly unsettling regarding her blase attitude regarding the nature of such a significant favor. This manner suggests that cash is growing on the trees on the farm.
Gaby coming up with the money requires putting virtually everything on the farm that has been his lifelong home up for sale in the titular event. It further requires an incredibly depressing reduction in his standard of life.
In true "Lear" style, largely absent daughter Frederique turns out to be the better sibling; like her Shakespearean counterpart, Frederique is not bitter but simply lacks a desire for a close relationship with her father.
This equally heart-warming and heart-breaking film has incredible cinematography and tells harsh truths about both the state of 21st century farming and families.
Particularly poignant scenes in "Auction" include those that address how the developments affect Gaby's dog, a depressing reunion between Gaby and the ex-wife who divorced him 20 years earlier, and seeing the life that Gaby leads at the end of the film.
The final bid regarding this effort to communicate the merits of "Auction" is that it awesomely portrays both the timeless relevancy of Shakespeare and that we all have families.
The bonus short that comes with this one is a very stylistic silent Spanish animated fable that shows a sweet relationship between a little girl and a very gentle giant. The music and drawings make this one very special.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Auction" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.