In Harmony

19 November 2015 | 1:47 pm | David O’Connell

"A gentle reminder of the importance of aspirations and striving for the impossible."

Loosely based on the life story of rider, Bernard Sachse, In Harmony is an ode to the power of dreams, and a reminder of the perseverance required to achieve them. Director, Denis Dercourt, also manages to take a sharp jab at the world of unfettered and uncaring commerce, that stifles such dreams, replacing them with the day to day grind of economic realities. 

Marc Guermount (Albert Dupontel) was a stuntman, before an on-set riding accident left him a T10 paraplegic.  Now after months of recovery he is trying to reconnect to his life. As he tries to discover what he is capable of, he also must deal with a contested claim from the studio’s insurer. When one of their assessors, Florence Kernel (Cecile De France), comes to his stables to attempt to pressure him into accepting an offer, Guermount slowly begins to recognise a kindred soul longing for more in life. As their relationship changes, both parties start to realise untapped potential.

To some degree In Harmony is a Romantic film, rather than just a romantic one. The primacy of the individual, that bond to nature and the elements, the overwhelming urge of emotions, all are prevalent in this film. It revels in this Romanticism, in the most gentle way possible. Guermount’s frustrated bond with his horse is the centre of this, representing not just a loss of income (in practical terms) but a change in identity. As he looses a connection that has defined his life for years, he also looses his sense of self. He is unsure, falling to bitterness, a quick temper, and becomes even more prone to rash risk taking (as opposed to his risk minimisation as a stuntman). Florence is equally out of balance, instead pursuing strategic advantage in her interactions, and disillusioned with life, family and career. 

Each eventually helps the other to heal, as their interaction fosters belief in their own potential. Both start to believe they can follow their dreams. In some ways it is because of this Romanticism that the love story for In Harmony develops. Unfortunately this feels tacked on, and is the weakest element of the script. Not enough to derail the story, but somewhat unnecessary, as the relation has been built more on mutual respect rather than attraction. 

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

What In Harmony does is vividly demonstrate some of the shady tactics used to bully clients into settlements favourable to insurance providers. That core of corporate greed, that removes empathy and justice from the equation and replaces it with an economic bottom line. In part this represents the accepted reality, and what Guermount and Florence try to overcome. It is the career to which Florence fled to when her dreams were destroyed, it is that which tells her daughter she can’t be a dancer, and what says to Guermount he will never ride again.

A gentle reminder of the importance of aspirations and striving for the impossible. 

Originally published in X-Press Magazine