As charming as Il Postino, as enchanting as Frozen 2, THE IDEAL PALACE is a slow burn love letter to patience, perseverance and paternal dedication.
Based on the remarkable true story of Joseph Ferdinand Cheval, a humble postman who leads an unassuming life, seemingly revelling in the solitude of his 20-mile delivery routes and daydreaming about the world of wonders that he only sees through the postcards and magazines he delivers.
At the beginning of the film, Cheval is widowed and his son is taken away by his maternal relatives so that his solitude is increased. However, that solitude is shattered when a young widow, Philomene, takes a shine to the shy Cheval, sensing the gentleness in this simple soul and day dreamer.
They marry and soon conceive, their daughter Alice is born, and the child inspires him to embark on a fantastic folly – the creation of a palace for his princess hewn from local rock and with inspiration from the recently discovered temples of Angkor Wat.
The quarrying and construction of the palace consumes thirty years of his life, its building a testament of true love, its legacy a national treasure.
Directed by Nils Tavernier and written by Tavernier, Laurent Bertoni and Fanny Demares, THE IDEAL PALACE boasts spectacular photography by Vincent Gallot and equally noteworthy performances, most notably Jacques Gamblin as Cheval, a contemplative performance magnificent in its nuance, and the equally sublime playing of Laetitia Casta as Philomene.
THE IDEAL PALACE is an unparalleled parable of persistence and vision, the larger-than-life undertaking of one very reserved man and the huge legacy he bestowed on France.