The thorn in my heart is a feature documentary by Michel Gondry about his Aunt Suzette – who was as a primary school teacher in small village school for all of her working life.
The film documents her return to each of these schools, where she meets up with her grown up students. They have great fondness for her an she is described as an imaginative teacher ahead of her time but also a little strict.
By way of contrast we see her with her family and focus on her difficult relationship with her son Jean Yves. He is a middle aged gay man who still lives at home with her, and is a dreamer and creative detached from the world. He loves super 8 films and model making What Michel might have been in a different incarnation.
We see Jean Yve’s train set in the inter titles, but I was a little disappointed that the film didn’t have more of Ghondy’s own trademark surreal animation in it. There is one great sequences where Michel and Suzette give a workshop to kids about making invisible costumes for film and afterwards we get to see the magical film they created.
Over all a loving crafted exploration of Ghondry’s relatives and the family dramas are revealed with a lightness of touch. (Something I’m sure I wont be saying about his next film – The Green Hornet!)