LFF: The Stoning of Saint Stephen (La Lapidation de Saint Étienne)
Étienne is a reclusive, elderly furniture restorer who lies alone in his ramshackle apartment. His relationship with his surviving daughter has deteriorated to the point where she can only address him through insults, and is maliciously trying to get him evicted from the apartment. The camera follows him at work, painstakingly attending to his wooden statues and chairs while the ghosts of his now-dead wife and other daughter haunt his abode and stop him from moving on. From Catalan director Pere Vilà Barceló, whose first feature Railroad Crossing screened at the LFF in 2008, comes an austere, almost Bressonian French-language study of a family in conflict. The extreme positions adopted by both father and daughter are shocking in their steadfastness. The result is a brutal retelling of St Stephen’s martyrdom, grounded in a defiant central performance by Lou Castel. (Maria Delgado)
Dir. Pere Vilà Barceló, Spain, France 2012, 80min. Cast: Lou Castel, Marie Payen, Luis Rego.
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