Incorporating painterly, Friedrich-like rural landscapes (that prefigure the profoundly isolated, psychological landscape of Sokurov's Mother and Son) set against expressionistic images of elongated shadows, skeletal structures, and highly acute camera angles that distort perspective fields of view, Déjeuner du matin subverts conventional notions of family and domestic ritual to create a haunted portrait of isolation and Sisyphean ritual. Bokanowski sets the tedium of mundane, near-autonomic morning routines on a provincial farmhouse (a looped sequence depicting an inventor drafting his latest design at the break of dawn reinforces this sense of somnambulism) - eating breakfast, shaving, carrying bales of hay - against a sense of claustrophobic inescapability where momentary eruptions of unprovoked domestic violence are attenuated within the oscillations of a lifeline, and even the act of flight through the hills in order to watch the sun rise is made ominous by the churning of the clouds, the fragile balance of near-collapsing structures, and the silence of inorganic, forbidding mountains. Concluding with petrified images of despair and inanimate, seemingly truncated attempt at connection (or perhaps, reconciliation), the tonally jarring incorporation of a melodic, carnivalesque arcade music serves as a wry reinforcement of the theme of eternal cycles of ritual.
Restoration completed in 2015. The 4K scan was made by the laboratory Eclair Group using the best available sources: namely, the original 35mm negative for the image and the 35mm magnetic soundtrack for the sound. The entire restoration process was supervised and approved by Patrick and Michèle Bokanowski. The project was spearheaded by Light Cone with the aid of a CNC grant for the digitization of cinematographic works belonging to cultural heritage.