The subject of love, in any context, coupled with a French director would seem a perfect combination, and one that you’d expect to produce passion and raw emotion. On the Shore, however, is a piece of French filmmaking that does not provide any such elements, instead replacing them with a distinctly numb feeling, and a longing to somehow retrieve the 90 minutes of your life spent experiencing it.
Set in Nice, the film follows middle-aged police captain Michel Matarasso, played by Daniel Duval, who is introduced immediately as a lonely and depressed individual. His work is clearly part of his problem, and quite early on he persuades an osteopath to sign him off for two weeks. It is during this time that he discovers a woman who has committed suicide, and from here on in Matarasso begins to create a fantasy in which he and the women are madly in love.
Although all the right ingredients are present for a touching human interest tale, On the Shore never provides the audience with any reason to relate to the characters, or indeed empathise with them. Duval is dry and devoid of feeling, and as his actions get more and more bizarre he becomes increasingly annoying.
Some of the cinematography , setting and overall composition of the film recover a degree of respectability, and indeed with a more heartfelt script and different actors it could have been a whole different story. As it is, this French film about loneliness and love never gets close to playing on any heart strings. Mundane and best avoided.
On the Shore will be showing at the Filmhouse on the 17th June at 21.55 and the 19th June at 19.00. Visit the EIFF website for more details.