The French Film Festival is showing another literary film: The Mystery of Henri Pick. If you’re not into heavy drama and like a good old-fashioned whodunnit, then this is the film for you.
Literary agent/editor Delphine Despero (Alice Isaaz) learns about a library of rejected manuscripts. Intrigued, she visits the library which is conveniently housed in her local village. Of course she finds a manuscript, The Last Hours of a Love Story, that she feels has real literary worth. The author, Henri Pick, is the local pizzeria owner but unfortunately, he’s dead.
The manuscript is published to much acclaim and is reviewed on a popular book tv show. The show’s host, intellectual Jean-Michel Rouche (Fabrice Luchini) is impressed by the book but less impressed by the mystery surrounding the author. He thinks the author isn’t a local cook, but a publisher’s ploy to generate media attention. He challenges Henri Pick’s widow on his tv show, upsets her and angers his producers. He’s fired.
Simultaneously, Rouche’s personal life falls apart; he returns to find his partner has decided to leave him. So, he has no job and no ties. This gives Rouche time to sleuth around Brittany to find out more about Henri Pick. But, like any good mystery, the more he uncovers, the less he knows. There’s some light romancing, a little comedy and a smattering of literary references. It’s a thoroughly entertaining film.
If you’re a reader, and I’m going to assume that you are, then treat yourself to the book written by David Foenkinos. Though you know the ending, the book is charming. Foenkinos was unknown to me, and I need more French authors in my reading life.
French Film Festival 14 July – 4 August, Palace Cinemas – Barracks and James Street
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