Belle Epine explores the inability to mourn
by Vitor Pinto
French screenwriter Rebecca Zlotowski (29) this morning presented her debut directorial feature, Belle Epine [+see also:
film profile], which is vying for the Camera d’Or and competing in Critics’ Week.
Dear Prudence is a classic auteur film and typically French in style, an intimist story that lets the camera capture all the emotions of its characters. These emotions are many and complex, although the director has chosen to leave aside that most predictable of themes in a film centring on teenagers: generational conflict.
With almost no adults around her (her mother died a few weeks ago and her father is on a business trip), Prudence starts to frequent the underworld of illegal motorcycle race tracks in Rungis. The excitement of this atmosphere is a sort of compensation for the emptiness she feels after her apparent inability to mourn for the death of her mother.
The illegal race tracks also bring new friends, experiences and fears. Zlotowski could have chosen the melodramatic genre for filming this story but her screenplay prefers to put the emphasis on subtlety and restraint. Léa Seydoux (The Beautiful Person [+see also:
film profile]), who plays imprudent Prudence, pulls off the best performance of her young career so far: fragile and strong at the same time, moody and helpless in the chaos of her emotions.
Sold by Pyramide Internacional, Belle Epine was produced by Frédéric Jouve for Les Films Velvet and Frédérique Niedermayer for Moby Dick Films, with backing from Canal +, CinéCinema and France’s National Film Centre.
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