From director Cédric Klapisch comes the new French film Back to Burgundy. The title refers to one of three siblings, Jean (played by Pio Marmaï) who has returned to the family’s vineyard after ten years abroad, much of it in Australia where he was raising his own family. Jean returns home at a critical time as the siblings’ father is declining. When the father passes, the three children are left with a large estate tax that jeopardizes their continued ownership of the vineyard.

As they struggle to develop a strategy to hold on to the estate, the film focuses on an actual harvest of grapes. Much of the weight of the film is derived from the detailed observations of the work and maintenance that is put into producing wine, a beverage which obviously has a reputation for being so central to French culture. The movie is deeply attuned to the fact that for many winemaking is a subtle art.

The film also stars Ana Giradot and  François Civil as the other two siblings – Juliette and Jérémie. There is some tension initially between Jérémie and Jean as the former clearly resents Jean having disappeared for ten years. The film is not enormously galvanizing – which is ok – much of life isn’t. Perhaps this is just another way of stating that the film is subtle, and it was refreshing to see a film about realistic characters trying to resolve a realistic situation. As Hamlet said, the whole point of drama is to hold a “mirror up to nature.”

And I won’t forget anytime soon the wonderful cinematography of Alexis Kavyrchine capturing the lush green French vineyards. It made me want to reach for a glass of wine – or at least a grape.

Back to Burgundy opened on March 23 in New York and on March 30 in Los Angeles and Orange County.