Conversations with My Gardener (‘Dialogue avec Mon Jardinier’)

COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 50min (French with subtitles)

STARRING: Daniel Auteuil, Jean-Pierre Darroussin

Still life: from left, Darroussin and Auteuil

Simplicity is a lost art in stressed-out cities, a fact of life that artist and radio personality Henri Cueco understands very well. Cueco’s 2000 memoir is the inspiration for director Jean Becker’s graceful, word-driven screenplay, adapted with a faultless ear for dialogue by Becker, Jean Cosmos and Jacques Monnet, and a très beguiling movie it makes.


The concept couldn’t be simpler: with his marriage ending, a middle-aged painter (Auteuil) returns to his boyhood country home and hires an old schoolmate (Darroussin) to tend the overgrown garden. The two are a lesson in polarities. The gardener has been happily hitched for 27 years, his life anchored by the simple rituals of country life. The painter’s world is more fractured, and on connecting with a man who embodies everything he doesn’t have, he steps into a different frame. Their friendship blooms in tune with the fabulous vegie bed, and so in tune and energised are Auteuil and Darroussin that their bond of opposites is a note-perfect ode to affinity.