Film Review: The Truth (NZIFF)

The Truth seems to be a subject of some concern this Film Festival. After all, we’ve had the True History of The Kelly Gang, which wasn’t. And now, The Truth, is the story of a veteran actress (played by the incandescent Catherine Deneuve) who has just published her memoir, which is more fiction than fact.

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke

The veteran actress in question is Fabienne Dangeville played exquisitely by Catherine Deneuve. Equally exquisite is Juliette Binoche who plays Fabienne’s longsuffering daughter Lumir, herself a successful writer.

Watching these two actors ply their craft is worth the price of admission alone. That craft, the art of acting is at the very heart of The Truth.

For Fabienne, it is what she lives for. Even at age 73 (Deneuve is 76) she is determined to continue to create great art in front of the camera, no matter what the cost to her relationships in real life. Meanwhile Lumir has had enough of her emotional life being used as fodder for her mother’s illustrious career.

So, Lumir and her daughter Charlotte, played wonderfully by Clementine Grenier, are visiting Fabienne in order to have a look at her memoir for some last minute “fact checking” Of course the book, full of her mother’s “reality” has already gone to press. Meanwhile she is in the middle of appearing in another film, “Memories of My Mother”

The meat and potatoes of The Truth is classic French cinema… nothing you probably haven’t seen before, but the chance to watch two veteran actresses of this high calibre working together is reason enough to watch.

Poor Ethan Hawke, as Lumir’s American actor husband has little to do in the film as is the same for most of the male characters. Pierre, Fabienne’s ex-husband, who shows up for a visit, has been killed off in her memoir and reduced (possibly) to a tortoise.

Meanwhile a mysterious “Sarah”, Fabienne’s best friend and fellow actor casts a pall over the proceedings having committed suicide years ago. But no matter, Fabienne is determined to carry on, to make great art on the screen, no matter what the price. As she says regarding her memoir, “I never tell the naked truth, it’s not interesting.

This Truth certainly is.

The Truth is part of the NZ International Film Festival. It is screening in select cinemas and venues across the country and is available to view on line. To view or purchase tickets, please go here:

Marty Duda