DIRECTOR: Nassim Amaouche | WRITER: Nassim Amaouche | CAST: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Dominique Reymond, Yasmine Belmadi, Mhamed Arezki, Sabrina Ouazani, Alexandre Bonnin, Hab-Eddine Sebiane, Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Mohamed, Azzedine Bouabba | France
Adieu Gary is just the kind of small, quiet movie that I tend to overpraise, and director Nassim Amaouche does press his symbolism much harder than I would like, but there’s something about the movie that moves me. It’s about the people left behind in a purpose-built factory town when the factory closes and almost all of the former workers have moved away. Francis (Jean-Pierre Bacri), a widower in his sixties, continues to maintain and repair the factory machinery because that’s what he’s always done. He lives with his grown sons Samir (Yasmine Belmadi), just released from prison for drug dealing who had nowhere else to go and feels trapped, and Icham (Mhamed Arezki), who stocks supermarket shelves for a living even as he has vague plans to move to Morocco (his late mother’s birthplace). Francis has been wooing the single mother next door, Maria (Dominique Reymond), who makes ends meet by being a human guinea pig testing drugs for a large pharmaceutical company, and whose teenaged son fantasizes that his father, who deserted the family, is the Gary Cooper of the Westerns he watches on TV and will soon return and take him and his mother away. Not a whole lot happens, but all of the acting is good and this was Yasmine Belmadi’s last film (he was terrific in Wild Side, which I saw recently), released about a week after he was killed in a traffic accident. I really liked it; you’d probably hate it. What more can I say?