Claude Sautet: The Things of Life

The Bad Son

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The Bad Son
Un mauvais fils | Claude Sautet, 1980
France | French with English subtitles | Format: 35mm | 110 minutes

Not on DVD!

Another career-spanning Sautet theme—the fraught relationships between adult children and their parents—comes to the fore in this heartbreaking, beautifully acted family drama. In one of the great, nervous, end-of-his-tether performances that typified his tragically brief career, the extraordinary Patrick Dewaere (Serie Noire) stars as Bruno, a young man returning to Paris after serving a five-year prison sentence (on drug charges) in America. Now clean and determined to rebuild his life, Bruno takes up residence with his widower father (superbly played by actor-director Yves Robert), who may secretly blame Bruno for causing his mother’s death, and begins drifting through a series of menial jobs. One of those, a position as a bookshop clerk, brings him into contact with the beautiful Catherine (Brigitte Fossey), a fellow recovering addict who soon becomes his lover. The only one of Sautet’s films to be steeped in the working-class milieu of his own childhood, The Bad Son paints an indelible portrait of ordinary people, somewhat beaten down by fate, struggling against the Sisyphean rigors of everyday life.

Series: Claude Sautet: The Things of Life

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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