Veteran director Robert Guédiguian knows his audience, his cast and muse (his wife Ariane Ascaride, who won best actress in Venice Film Festival 2019): he makes politically aware films about ordinary working class people facing crisis in his native Marseille. In Gloria Mundi he jazzes things up a bit.
Gloria Mundi belongs to Gérard Meylan’s Daniel, a likeable and grounded dark horse who has done time in Rennes for killing a man in self-defence. We meet him in the mellow autumn of his life, content with his own company and happy to have found a certain modus vivendi as he wiles away his post-prison days writing Haiku poetry and contemplating a soulmate who – conveniently – lives only in his dreams.
Guédiguian often feels like the French version of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach. And here again he crafts a tale of domestic dynamics showing how economic setback can rapidly put a strain on family life. He did this first with his best known work Snows of Kilimanjaro and more recently with The House by the Sea. This is a less subtle affair that triumphs because of its engaging story of Marseillaise life and its quality performance all set to an unobtrusive Ravel score.
Meredith Taylor, Filmuforia