Originally appeared in Film Inquiry.
Beyond the Horizon (Le milieu de l’horizon) is the kind of film in which nothing major happens but everything is happening in plain sight. Also, the script observes the characters instead of dictating their moves. It’s laid back, from the setting to the filmmaking technique, nothing is extrinsic. Neither does it try to adhere to the minimalistic story-telling techniques. The primitiveness is rather glued in the atmosphere it creates. The film is set in an unspecified rural European territory in the summer of 1976 which, I just discovered, was considered one of the most sweltering summers in Europe, consequentially resulting in a drought. Not an ideal summer for a 13-year old Gus (Luc Bruchez, in his acting debut), who is starting to experience sexual urges, to spend.
MICRO CONFLICTS AMIDST MACRO CHALLENGES
There is a recurring line in the film, telling how the temperatures are much higher in the interiors, thereby making Gus spend the majority of his day outside. This is a hint at the tensions inside the house between family members due to external factors. Gus’ father, Jean, has invested a substantial part of his savings in a chicken farm and the summer hasn’t been kind to them either. As the number of chickens dying each day continues to soar in proportion with rising levels of temperatures, the financial burden only adds to the existing unease in the family.
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