Rabu, 25 Mei 2011
Rebecca Zlotowski - Belle épine AKA Dear Prudence (2010)
After the death of her mother, 17-year-old Prudence finds herself living alone in her Paris apartment. Then she meets Maryline, a rebel of her own age, who introduces her to the thrills of motorcycle racing on the biker circuit at Rungis. Prudence’s newfound lease of freedom becomes complicated when she falls for a boy Franck who wastes no time in taking advantage of her naivety...
For her feature debut, director Rebecca Zlotowski delivers an arresting but brutal portrait of adolescence, a work of considerable merit that was a worthy recipient of the Louis Delluc First Film Prize in 2010. A classic teen drama à la française, Belle épine has an austerity, intensity and sombre realism that immediately calls to mind the films of Maurice Pialat, but it also has a distinctive poetic quality that gives it the character of a dark fairy tale. Lately, this kind of hard-edged realist drama has been on the decline, as an increasing number of young filmmakers divert their talents towards more marketable genres - comedies, thrillers and visceral horror films. Belle épine is a film that bucks this worrying trend and reassures us that the film d’auteur is still very much alive in France.
Zlotowski’s suitably pared back direction allows lead actress Léa Seydoux to take charge and give what is assuredly her finest performance to date. Previously noticed in Christophe Honoré’s La Belle personne (2008) and Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009), Seydoux is one of France’s most promising young acting talents and brings an intensity and blistering reality to each of her screen portrayals. Belle épine offers her her most challenging role to date - a teenager tormented by the twin traumas of a family bereavement and her nascent sexuality - yet she acquits herself with a performance of extraordinary power and poignancy. Whilst Prudence is hardly the most sympathetic of characters - her thoughts and emotions are hermetically sealed in a tough outer shell and she remains an enigmatic, distant soul - yet Seydoux compels us to identify with her and engage with her surging emotional crises. Although Léa Seydoux dominates the film, it would be a sin to overlook the contributions of the supporting cast, which includes such talented young actors as Anaïs Demoustier, Michaël Abiteboul and Nicolas Maury, all excellent and equally convincing portrayals of adolescent angst.
French only. No subs.