TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2023 REVIEW! The French master director Jean-Luc Godard. Believed passionately that ‘Everything was Cinema.’ He, of course, did this in many moments in his canon of work using non-actors, filming in live situations, and then with a small crew. The result was some brilliant works with a touch of realism, immediacy, and intimacy that flowed effortlessly. This German film Arthur&Diana enters that company with a subtle, humorous, often contemplative story of everyday life. Life becomes little dramas that connect into a joyous moment of reflection and thanks.
Goddard mainly worked in black and white film stock out of cost while the director, writer, and star of Sara Summa’s Arthur&Diana is photographed in glorious, subdued colour. Arthur (Robin Summa) & Diana (Sara Summa} are brother and sister. With Diana’s two-year-old son Lupo, the trio leave Berlin for a Paris trip to do the overdue safety inspection of their old Renault. The vehicle is of special significance since it symbolizes their youth and the passage of time. The trip is not relaxed at all as the journey becomes more of a trip or a cruise down memory lane for both. Revelations of youth and how they clash with the present day come out as Lupo needs constant care. As with children, Lupo demands sweets, food, and even, at one point, to have certain music played in the vehicle.
“Together with Diana’s two -old son Lupo, the trio leave Berlin for a Paris trip to do the overdue safety inspection…”
The picture features a documentary-style film, so the viewer becomes a combination eavesdropped companion, voyeur, and interloper depending on the moments that the camera intrudes on. Arthur, who is younger, with a carefree air about him, is the opposite of the cool, pragmatic, married Diane. A flat tire is discovered by Diana, who simply gets the light and checks herself. The police stop them on the way and find the safety check has not been done. Arthur talks the police into letting them go because they are heading to a funeral.
The cast includes unknown actors like Livia Antonelli, Claire Loiseau, and Ugo Fiore with lovely unobtrusive sets and backgrounds that make one feel you are on the trip with Arthur&Diana and all they meet.
The film is a visual and auditory treat with a beautiful score, music, and the ever-present theme of eating. Everyone eats in seemingly endless moments that often lead to a romantic interlude at a party for Diana to keep Lupo happy during adult time at get-togethers. Sound is also a key element in this as we get the real crunch of food, the swilling of wine, and even a housefly tormenting Arthur. Little moments of drama build into the togetherness of family and the bonds of friendship.
Arthur&Diana have freedom and flow to their story like the French New Wave. Comedy, as well as Diana, has a rather amusing encounter with a small weapon at a lake while trying to look tough. The ending of this is threatening framing of Diana toward the audience. The camera is used to convey observation and participation even up to the last shot of the picture. Real family offers a unique way to tell a story, with this one being fictional. Still, the immediacy of the actors is a joy to behold right up to the song that ends the picture. You may find yourselves joining in and looking at your little section of the world with a smile.
Arthur&Diana screened at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival.