French Film Festival: ‘A Brief Passage on Earth’ shows a son’s glimpse into his father’s legacy

Director Jérôme Enrico presented “Robert Enrico, A Brief Passage on Earth" at the Byrd Friday. The film follows in his father's footsteps. Photo by Gessler Santos-Lopez

Aaron Royce, Contributing Writer

The French Film Festival reached its midpoint on Friday afternoon with a masterclass featuring director Jérôme Enrico, who is following his father’s footsteps and reflecting on family history.

Jérôme Enrico’s class included a viewing of his 2018 documentary “Robert Enrico, A Brief Passage on Earth,” produced with Adi Walter and Jérémie Bôle du Chaumont. The documentary traces Jérôme Enrico’s late father’s actions from the 1960s to 1990s, most notably his career, travels and unreleased film, “Coup de Foudre” (Love at First Sight).

The drama “Coup de Foudre” (Love at First Sight), led by Catherine Deneuve and Philippe Noiret, began the documentary literally and figuratively. The first shot depicts Jérôme Enrico sifting through Robert Enrico’s belongings in his basement after his death and uncovering the unedited rolls of “Coup” — which was shut down after one week of production. After viewing the eight-minute film, Jérôme Enrico used it as the documentary’s starting point.

“Robert Enrico” is spliced between Jérôme Enrico’s travel experiences following his father’s legacy, clips from Robert Enrico’s filmography and interviews with family and close industry friends.

“I tried to depict moments of life that moved me,” Jérôme Enrico said. “I traveled through time, through his life and was able to spend two extra years in his company. I went to locations like Italy and America, and in those linger an inspiration on my life.”

The documentary depicts the production behind Robert Enrico’s films — like the acclaimed “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” — showing the extensive work that occurs in the film industry. Since beginning his directing career after assisting Robert Enrico in 1986’s “Zone rogue,” Jérôme Enrico takes pride in their shared passion for movies and creativity.

“I’m happy to have done the same profession as my father — we were very close,” he said. “He was a bit like my godfather in the profession.”

What truly makes this film intimate, however, are its family ties. Robert Enrico’s life is represented with clips of interviews with family members like Jérôme Enrico’s mother, uncle, grandfather, stepmother and sisters. These sensitive interviews give a more human glimpse into the extraordinary legacy Robert Enrico left behind in his passing.

“My father had several lives — I was at the beginning of the first — and we all get along very well,” Jérôme Enrico said of his family’s relationships. “I know it doesn’t always work like that, but it works for us.”

For more information on the French Film Festival, visit frenchfilmfestival.us.

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