; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: VIFF: The Last Hammer Blow

Sunday, 27 September 2015

VIFF: The Last Hammer Blow

(reviewed by Meaghan Smith)

The Last Hammer Blow – Disjointed but Charming

I am a huge fan of French cinema. I find I have a soft spot in my heart for any Francophone film as I enjoy listening to the language and sharing a special bond with the other French speakers in the audience who laugh at silly jokes that can’t be translated by subtitles.

This movie was a bit of a let down for me. The film flickers through four storylines never truly giving actual attention to any of them. It took quite awhile to get the gist of what was happening in the film because the opening scenes were so quickly intercut together with little connection other than Victor, the main character.

Victor struggles with his mother’s illness (which is never named, though her baldness implies cancer), the return of his never before met father, his crush on his next-door neighbour, and the pressure of getting into an elite soccer program, all through the lens of classical music. If that sounds like a lot packed into a single movie it’s because it is.

I was most impressed by the film’s exploration of rural French poverty. Much of the French cinema that makes its way to North America tends to focus on either urban centres or more chic sections of France. The Last Hammer Blow does not pull any punches. The film not only looks at poverty but also immigration into France and the ways in which those who do not speak French suffer when first entering the country.

I would recommend this film for fellow francophiles, those who love classical music, or those looking to see a new perspective on France. 

The Last Hammer Blow is on again today (September 27) at 5pm at the Vancity Theatre.  

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