À Propos de Joan
Overwhelmed when a figure from her past re-emerges, Joan Verra (Isabelle Huppert) retreats to the countryside with her son Nathan. There she experiences fragmented recollections of her past romantic encounters.
On a Paris street corner Joan runs into her first love, a once young Irishman. Non-plussed, she leaves for her country house and revisits the last 40 years, building a fantasised picture of her life.
Her son Nathan, just back from Montreal, accompanies her in these moments. In several passages of a long-awaited but liberating journey about coming to terms with the stories we tell ourselves Huppert narrates as Joan, speaking directly to the audience, controlling the moderation of her own story, although, because of a bombshell revelation in the third act, she can’t quite explain where we stop, start and transition. Huppert is as amusing as ever and there is a lilting, melancholic tone to her performance, especially as Joan in the present.
When remembering her first love, the Irish rascal Doug (Eanna Hardwicke), she sends us back to 1970 Dublin, where most of the first act takes place. There is a lavish texture across each landscape and period, perhaps all seemingly attenuated for Huppert, but also delivering a rich visual flavour. Whether she is dancing in a German club or lounging morosely in the forest outside her home, it’s a beautifully shot showcase for her (and her various hair-dos), especially considering production took place in the early stages of the pandemic and spans three different periods across three different countries.
NB. Isabelle Huppert appears in two more films in the Festival: ‘By Heart’ and Chabrol’s ‘Merci pour le Chocolat’