North American Premiere
Valérie Donzelli’s film begins as a sunny romance and slowly, subtly becomes a defiant feminist drama. When Blanche (Virginie Efira) meets Greg (Melvil Poupaud) at a seaside party, she’s quickly won over by his confidence and charm. Soon she’s pregnant by him, and the two make a decision to become life partners. Eventually, Greg reveals himself to be jealous, possessive, and controlling, and when Blanche seeks comfort outside the marriage, things escalate further.
Efira excels in a dual role (playing both Blanche and her twin sister), and as Greg, Poupaud performs the transition from sweet seducer to fearsome abuser with chilling believability. Donzelli laces the drama with brief, impressionistic images, and she shows the same skill for evoking beauty in her heroine: Blanche’s visage, whether showing pain, pleasure, or things in between, is radiantly expressive.
First and foremost a feminist work of truth… charts with formidable, novelistic acuity the trajectory of a woman falling under the control of a man.
Fabien Lemercier, Cineuropa
Virginie Efira, Melvil Poupaud, Dominique Reymond, Romane Bohringer, Virginie Ledonyen
In French with English subtitles
Alice Girard & Edouard Weil
Valérie Donzelli, born March 2, 1973, is a French actress, filmmaker, and screenwriter. Despite starting in architecture, her passion shifted to acting. Partnering with Jérémie Elkaïm, they pursued creative ventures together. Donzelli gained fame through TV’s Clara Sheller before her directorial debut, The Queen of Hearts (2008). Declaration of War (2011) drew from her experience when her son battled cancer. A multifaceted artist, she remains a poignant force in French cinema.
Filmography: The Queen of Hearts (2008); Declaration of War (2011); Hand in Hand (2012); Notre Dame (2019)
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