Charlotte Gainsbourg Stars in This Award Winning Biopic Out This Week
On September 6, a new award winning adaptation of a French classic opens at Quad Cinema in New York. It's not the epic romance you usually suspect from the French market, but a theatrical retelling of a man and his relationship with his one of a kind, ambition-seeking, bordering on unhinged mother.
Eric Barbier's Promise at Dawn (La promesse de l'aube, 2017) is honestly told and daringly episodic, framed by vintage cinematography, bringing an element of childhood nostalgia to the forefront.The film is based on a well-known French memoir of the same name by Romain Gary. It spans close to 30 years of Gary's life, crosses borders and wields a smorgasbord of various social and historical movements and events, including WWII.
The story touches on a unique perspective on the sources of lifelong aspirations. Gary and his mother form an exclusive partnership that revolves around an unspoken promise that he will avenge the shortcomings, unfairness and humiliation experienced throughout his mother’s life. He is determined to find the success she’s wanted for him so desperately and for so long. It’s a tale that may ring true for many high reaching individuals, although never so romantically depicted as in Promise.
Charlotte Gainsburg is the perfect choice as Nina, the outrageous dreamer who shapes her son's incredibly adventurous life. Never one to shy away from dark roles, Gainsburg does her typical deep dive into the extremely complex character. Once Pierre Niney hops onto the slate as adult Gary, the magic really happens as he provides a fully formed performamce to balance the overwhelming matriarch.
Dont believe that Promise at dawn is all work and no play, however. Even though Nina’s love may appear outrageous and downright intrusive, Gary’s genius comes from the ironic comedy that he applies to his pages when describing such a life, including a loss of virginity scene with his math professor (surprise- his mother makes an appearance!), a fun characteristic that Barbier doesn’t fail in bringing to life.
The movie is playing at the Quad Cinema in New York starting on September 6. Charlotte Gainsbourg will be attending live for a special Q&A on opening night. The movie will also be shown in Dallas (TX) and St. Paul (MN).