ONE FINE MORNING
(Original Title: Un beau matin)
France (2022) 112 mins.
Directors/writers: Mia Hansen-Løve
Cast: Lea Seydoux (Sandra Kienzler) Pascal Greggory (Georg Kienzler) Melvil Poupaud (Clement)
Screening 14 February 2024 at Swindon Arts Centre
With a father suffering from a neurodegenerative disease, a young woman lives with her 8-year-old daughter. While struggling to secure a decent nursing home, she runs into an unavailable friend with whom she embarks on an affair.
Sandra, the French single mother at the centre of One Fine Morning, is always in motion, striding here and there, racing up and down, circling back and forth, and always with an intensity of purpose. With her head held high and her clear, unwavering gaze, a dowdy backpack strapped to her back, she doesn’t resemble one of pop culture’s fantasy gamines. She looks like the woman she is: a mother, daughter, friend, lover and worker who, in order to keep going, needs to maintain a steady course even when buffeted by strong winds… …
The movie builds incrementally through scenes of varying dramatic and emotional intensity, some of which might seem like atmospheric filler (or just filler) in a different movie but here deepens the story. Again and again, Hansen-Love returns to the subject of memory, to the past and the ebb and flow of time…
The woman at the centre of the subtle but cathartic One Fine Morning is cursed by her consciousness. Try as she might, she can’t escape the fact that she’s ultimately alone, trapped in her own head, and tied through her actions to each and every person around her. It’s a torturous existence…
…The irony of being intimately connected while desperately lonely can be a hard one to digest. Yet director Mia Hansen-Løve prods at the concept with the same tenderness that she applies to all her films – each of them united by the pains and pleasures of interconnectivity…
…But despite being exposed to the limitlessness of the universe, Hansen-Løve’s characters instead find themselves drawn to the philosophical power of ordinary objects and gestures – how a person’s identity can be mapped out by their book collection, or how a young girl’s psychosomatic limp can express the entirety of her sorrow. One Fine Morning is a film in which nothing is overstated, but everything is understood. Sometimes, it’s really as straightforward as the words Sandra’s grandmother casually lets slip: “It’s a bit difficult at times, living’’.
- Mia Hansen-Love’s film script is partly autobiographical. In 2019-2020 she was trying to make sense of dealing with her own father’s decline.
- She chose Pascal Greggory for the role of Georg because of his elegance, his sensitivity and a disturbing resemblance to her father.
- One Fine Morning won the Europa Cinemas Label Award for Best European Film at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival