When the cold of winter descends upon us again, I might think back to the pleasant summer feeling of the evening of Friday, July 17, 2015. The centerpiece of the evening was a visit to the Detroit Film Theatre, where I enjoyed the compelling French Canadian drama Félix and Meira.
Félix and Meira mainly concerned the conflicted feelings of a young Jewish mother who is torn between loyalty to her Orthodox husband Shulem and to a man who has just entered her life, the older Félix.
Félix is not religious, but he faces a spiritual crisis at the beginning of the movie that compels him to reach out to Meira. The two of them find a compatibility that helps each of them escape their own kinds of loneliness and isolation.
The movie quietly observes the increasingly intimate interactions of Félix and Meira. At the end of the movie, we see the two of them gradually learning to live with the choices that they made. There was a fullness in this resolution, without the feeling that the director Maxime Giroux was trying to tie up loose ends or say that everyone made the right choice.
The film was shot in a wide screen process that helped give a strong sense of place, be it in Montreal, Brooklyn, or Venice, Italy. The wide screen also worked well in an extraordinary scene near the end of the movie, when Félix and Meira’s husband Shulem confront each other emotionally across a table in Félix’s apartment.
Meira was played by Hadas Yaron, whose quiet beauty and expressive eyes should make her an international movie star in the years to come. There was also a sparkle in her eyes that might serve her well in a comedic role.
During Félix and Meira, I thought, this is one of my favorite kinds of DFT films—a careful character study that takes me to emotional, cinematic, and geographical places that I might not have otherwise visited. Next week, I’m looking forward to two other kinds of DFT favorites—a lesser-known classic (Forbidden Games) and a documentary about a unique person (Sunshine Superman).
After the movie, I walked out of the DFT into the warmest evening of the summer. It was about 8:45 p.m., and there was still a lot of daylight. Several groups of people were gathered, exchanging thoughts about Félix and Meira.
I maneuvered my way through the construction-ridden streets of Detroit. I drove by Comerica Park, another focal point of summer activity as the Detroit Tigers started the second half of the season with a 7-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Soon, I was headed west, back to my home. Still charged up by Félix and Meira, I gazed in wonder at the high, dramatic cloud formations, backlit by the glow of the setting sun.
Copyright 2015 by Robert Hollberg Smith, Jr.