Posted by: greercn | October 31, 2012

The Snows of Kilmanjaro (Les Neiges du Kilimandjaro)

France is going through a Golden Age of movie-making and is producing wonderful and very enjoyable films. This beautiful little picture tells an original and lovely story and does it perfectly.

Director Robert Guediguian was born and brought up in Marseille and “Snows” is set there, but his family is originally Armenian and his sensibilities give him the strength of being an outsider as well as an insider, in France. I was going to skip this entry in the Discover Tuesdays series at Picturehouses, because the subject matter did not appeal to me, but the director’s “Armenia” lured me in. Basically, he has never made a dud film.

I am so glad I saw this incredibly entertaining film as the story, stars and setting all have great depth.

Guediguian regulars Ariane Ascaride and Jean-Pierre Darroussin play Marie-Claire and Michel, married fiftysomethings who have stayed in love and do their best to be good people.

Bad luck makes them the victims of armed robbery. So far, so predictable.

What happens next, as they struggle to understand what has happened, is utterly magical. How many films reference Victor Hugo, the meaning of trade unionism, popular song and Ernest Hemingway? At the same time, the movie has deep insights into ideas about the “worthy” poor and criminal behaviour and the whole cast, adults and children alike, is profoundly affecting.

I loved it and everyone who went to Stratford Picturehouse to see it did too.

The decent and loving values on show here moved me deeply. Stratford Picturehouse staff are now threatening to have a special box of paper handkerchiefs for me as I keep feeling very emotional when I come out of a Discover Tuesdays film.

These are fabulous movies that take you way beyond mainstream releases. Do see this. You’ll love it.



  1. Je n’aurais pas vu le film sans la recommandation de Greer… et en effet j’ai pleuré. Pourquoi tant d’émotions ? Pour ses bons sentiments? Ses personnages attachants? Sa réflexion sur le dépassement?… se dépasser soi-même, en remettant en question nos préjugés, quitte à aller à l’encontre de ceux qu’on aime et à la rencontre de ceux qui nous ont bléssé. Le couple uni d’un amour bien enviable a gravi le sommet du Kili en restant à Marseille !
    Le film m’a fait découvrir le poème de V Hugo Les Pauvres Gens. Je ne connais pas assez Hemingway pour en voir vu la référence, Greer, un petit éclairage?

    • Merci beaucoup, Nadia! Tes mots me donnent du plaisir. Hemingway a ecrit l’histoire de Harry, qui est en train de mourir. Donc il pense a sa vie, a l’amour perdu et des chances pas prises. Mont Kilimandjaro devient un symbole de ce qu’il n’a pas fait. Pleins de symboles ici!

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