I write to tell you about a beautiful film I saw on the weekend. In most cases reading or viewing something beautiful is not something I feel like keeping private. Conversations with My Gardener is a French film about a Parisian artist who hires a gardener to bring back to life the overgrown garden at his family’s rundown manor in the country.
The beauty of this film is not only in its visual images, but also in its depiction of the friendship, devotion, and philosophies of the two men. To see the film is close to being in France, in the countryside during the summer: flowers, and vegetables, a dog running after a motorbike, charming people speaking amusingly in French, a language as beautiful than the scenery.
There is a good deal of talk between the painter and the gardener who turn out to be old childhood school friends. Each has gone their own way, one to the Parisian art and café world, the other to a blue-collar life on railroad work crews
Their friendship is renewed and deepens as the seasons pass. They exchange views about the profound and the trivial—paintings, lovers, marriage music, careers, fishing and illness. It is wonderful to watch these two men speaking and jesting with one another for a couple of hours on the screen.
The gardener tells the painter that the important things are those you keep in your heart. He tells him to always carry a knife and a piece of string—advice that turns out to be helpful in a future scene. The painter takes the gardener to the Louvre and tells him about light and dark and what he is thinking while he paints.
A reviewer comments: There’s a great sense of place. We luxuriate in the verdant peace of Rhone-Alpes’ picturesque Villefranche-sur-Saone, and the eternal city of Paris, through the cobbled streets, the sidewalk cafes and the Arc de Triomphe…There are many images of conversation that are memorable, but none more so than that of the two men fishing, deliberating on matters of life and death. Philosophical, mischievous and melancholy, this is a beautiful film that draws us to the two characters, their lives and hearts.
If you enjoy this sort of thing, try to view the film if it comes your way. Here is a clip of what you will see.