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2 items from 2014

Film Review: ‘Demi-soeur’

10 February 2014 11:11 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

One might think, given the experience and talent of those involved, that someone would have noticed that “Demi-soeur” was a recipe for disaster: A comedy about a mentally disabled person, while not necessarily a bad idea, is extremely tricky territory. Unfortunately, French actress-writer-director Josiane Balasko plunges in with all the finesse of a hopped-up Pollyanna, her simplistic interpretation of an impaired sexagenarian coming close to outright parody; vet comic thesp Michel Blanc’s Ecstasy-fueled transformation from raging misanthrope to beaming softie equally fails to convince. The outlook is dismal for this Rialto release, voted one of 2013’s worst films by Premiere.

Her mother having died recently, Nenette (Balasko, in a short gray bob and shapeless dress) has nowhere to go but a nursing home. Once ensconced there, however, she learns she cannot keep her best friend and pet tortoise, Totoche,” with her. She packs up and leaves, unnoticed. Setting out »

- Ronnie Scheib

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Demi-soeur Charts the Adventures of a Developmentally Disabled Senior Citizen

4 February 2014 9:00 PM, PST | Village Voice | See recent Village Voice news »

A misbegotten dramedy about the hijinks of the mentally handicapped, Demi-sœur charts the adventures of developmentally disabled senior citizen Nénette (Josiane Balasko, who also directs) after the death of her mother compels her to track down her father — a search that instead leads to a reunion with heretofore unknown pharmacist brother Paul (Michel Blanc).

Nénette chats incessantly with her pet tortoise and befriends a heavy metal singer who gives her a bag of ecstasy he calls "sweeteners," which Nénette then puts in uptight Paul's coffee, turning him into a drugged-out loon who, the film posits in an especially sour joke, is now on her intellectual and emotional plane.

Out of his mind, Paul bonds with Nénette (by setti »

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