The Scent of Mandarin

The North American Premiere of "L'odeur de la mandarine" (English captions), is an adult love story from France. Our 2016 Seattle International Film Festival screening audience saw a romance designed for grownups, because it included a mating scene with horses, quite a bit of nudity and definitely required mature understanding of human nature.

Writer/director Gilles Legrand ("Micmacs") gives us two intelligent, witty, sophisticated adults who are dealing with the effects of World War I, which periodically is heard in the distance over the course of the movie.

Our cast:
  • Olivier Gourmet - Charles has lost a leg in the war and is trying to get his painful wound to heal. He hires a nurse to change the dressings and help with his therapy. He owns a successful farm in the French countryside.
  • Georgia Scalliet - Angèle arrives at his front door complete with her young daughter Louise, and a broken heart. She is a clear-thinking woman who loves to negotiate...AND she loves horses!
  • Marine Vallée - Louise comes home from her first day at school with head lice. This problem seems intractable so she is convinced that they are "German lice!"
  • Hélène Vincent - Emile was once Charles' wet nurse but has stayed on and worked as his family's housekeeper all of his life.
  • Dimitri Storoge - Léonard is Emile's brother. He too, has worked for Charles all of his life.
  • Michel Robin - Le curé conducts the funniest wedding I have seen in ages!
  • Fred Ulysse - Fermin shows up with an elegant black stallion. His story seems lame but Charles is reluctant to send a young man back to the war front.
Both of the lead characters have complex stories and react to situations in a very real way. This isn't billed as a comedy, but these people are witty; the dialogue is delicious and I smiled from beginning to end.

This is worthwhile. By the way, Mandarine is the name of a workhorse.