The Snows of Kilimanjaro (Les neiges du Kilimandjaro) (15)
21 September - 27 September 2012
Often described as the Gallic Ken Loach, Robert Guédiguian returns to Marseille and reunites his regular troupe of actors for The Snows of Kilimanjaro, a delicate drama about the impact of the global recession on ordinary lives.
The film opens on the dock as union leader Michel (Le Havre’s Jean-Pierre Darroussin) pulls 19 names out of a box. Those selected, including Michel, face compulsory redundancy. As he tentatively begins his enforced retirement, his best mate Raoul (Gérard Meylan) organises an anniversary party for Michel and wife Marie-Claire (Ariane Ascaride). The popular couple are given the gift of a trip to Tanzania and spending money organised by their friends and family. When they’re robbed of their money in a violent attack, the culprit turns out to be Christophe (Grégoire Leprince- Ringuet), a co-worker Michel had previously laid off. Wracked with guilt at the impact the arrest has on the young man’s family, Michel is plunged into self-doubt.
Guédiguian has been criticised for being old-fashioned, but his world view is as perceptive as that of any contemporary filmmaker working today. Inspired by Victor Hugo’s poem Les pauvres gens, the ultimate result of this film is a powerful exploration of how our lives are deeply connected with friends, family, colleagues and community.