Film Review: “In the Courtyard” (2014) – Original Title – ‘Dans la cour’


Directed by: Pierre Salvadori

Written by: Pierre Salvadori,  David Léotard

Country: France

Language: French

Starring: Catherine Deneive, Gustave Kervern, Féodor Atkine, Pio Marmai, Nicholas Bouchaud

Antoine is a musician, but refuses to play in his rock band due to depression. After wandering in the streets, Antoine finally decides to find a job. Unskilled, inexperienced, he is still lucky enough to be hired as a caretaker in one of the oldest Paris apartment buildings in the city. With his eccentric behavior, and unique attitude towards the residents, he soon becomes very popular and proves that he can be good at his job. Soon after, Antoine develops an exceptional friendship with Mathilde, a recently retired woman whose mental balance is worsening with every passing day.

Dans la cour”(English version of the name is In The Courtyard) introduces us to its hero Antoine (Gustave Kervern), who sits stubbornly in a bar and argues with the manager about his current physical and psychological condition. He leaves the bar forgetting his beloved guitar. Soon after, he gets back to reality and goes to social services to find a job. We would never know what happened next with Antoine, if not for a very kind and caring social worker who finds a piece of paper in her garbage bin that helps this kind man find a job.  Mathilde (Catherine Deneuve) is a very educated, but emotionally disturbed woman, who slowly loses her balance between reality and a world that exists only in her head. With Antoine`s appearance, she finds in him a trustworthy friend, a companion in her crazy plans, and simply a person who she can go to talk to and cry, if she so wishes. The relationship between these two people is remarkably told by French writer and filmmaker Pierre Salvadori.

Pierre Salvadori is a master at making films about life, feelings,  relationships, and love … which are all the necessary ingredients needed for a story of a man and woman who fall in love at first sight. In “Dans la cour” you should not expect the usual scheme of the love story between a man and a woman, but you can feel, see, and even touch the love if you want just by watching this feature film. If you happen to see Salvadori`s “Beautiful Lies” (2014) with Audrey Tautou, in which a hairdresser forwards a passionate letter to her mother, then you will already know what to expect from “Dans la cour”.


Catherine Deneuve. It would take forever to describe the enormous and undeniable talent of this French actress, who I am sure almost everyone knows. Her performance in the excellent musical “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964) still remains one of the best films about love ever made, along with “Casablanca”, “Love Story” and Claude Lelouch  “A Man and A Woman”. Her talent and beauty shines bright and becomes even more unique as she ages, which is noticeable to the naked eye. Salvadori, knowing that, creates Deneuve’s character as a woman who was made for life; to live, – to enjoy life. Deneuve is very good as he presents Mathilde in a way that we feel nothing but love and compassion for her condition. Her character is as lovable as the flowers outside of her apartment. Gustave Kervern`s Antoine is shy, but hardworking, if given the chance. His kind heart and gentle character makes him unable to tell a lie or harm anyone.  And it is all because of Kervern’s convincing performance, who does his best, while playing alongside a true legend of French cinematography- Catherine Deveuve.

“Dans la cour” is a very touching and mesmerizing story of two people who live their lives in a micro-world, with dignity, respect, and admiration for one another, while the rest of the world does nothing but fight with one another. In this film, the viewers will find something for themselves; learn, and probably share some of the experiences with the people on the screen, because the main viewpoint of “Dans la cour” is that everyone deserves a second chance, and true friendship sometimes is all we need to have a fulfilling life.

Memorable Quote from the film:

Serge to Mathilde: -“Look, he even talks to himself.” (About Antoine)

Mathilde; “That`s even better. He will never feel bored.”


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