Venice Film Festival

VENICE – Freely adapted from John Cheever's "Bullet Park," Arnaud Des Pallieres' "Parc" transports the story from 1967 America to present-day France. Cheever chose a middle-class residential suburb to unfold his narrative, an environment that became a model for rich European private communities. This is being copied in India as well, where they are called, as in the U.S., "gated communities," where prosperous residents hope to live away from the harsh realities of poverty and suffering.

Rich and snooty, these men and women withdraw into a world of theirs, and like "Bullet Park", Parc is a strong criticism of such isolated existence. Wonderfully mounted with excellent camera work that effectively captures the almost antiseptic mood and feel of the private commune, the film is likely to be a draw with arthouse fans, though its crossover to a less niche audience is doubtful.

Georges Nail (Sergi Lopez) lives at seductively secluded Le Parc with his wife, Helen (Nathalie Richard), and son, Tony (Laurent Delbecque). Theirs is a fairy tale existence of riches, work and church with all these neatly arranged like pretty curios in a palatial museum. Nothing is out of place and nothing – whether work or a visit to the church – happens outside a regimented schedule.

It is into this idyllic atmosphere that Paul Hammer (Jean-Marc Barr) and his wife, Evelyne (Delphine Chuillot), trespass. Torn between his intense anger for this kind of exclusive world and his passionate desire to be a part of it, Paul stumbles upon a reason to live: to crucify a certain kind of idealism that arrogantly ignores the rest of the world, as if it were not in existence at all. And the hammer hits the nail, the victim unfortunately being Tony, a reluctant, dissenting resident of Le Parc, who questions his father's idea of a neighborhood where social diversity is not welcome.

At times, slow and labored, the movie rolls along on moderately reasonable performances, the sensuousness of the place and people adding to the rich texture.

Production companies: Les Films d'lci, France 3 Cinema and Rhone- Alpes Cinema
Cast: Sergi Lopez, Jean-Marc Barr, Nathalie Richard, Laurent Delbecque, Delphine Chuillot.
Director/editor: Arnaud Des Pallieres.
Screenwriter: John Cheever.
Producer: Serge Lalou.
Director of photography: Jean Lapoirie.
Music: Martin Wheele.
Sales agent: Films Distribution
No rating, 109 minutes.