7.0/10
752
11 user 20 critic

Set Me Free (1999)

Emporte-moi (original title)
Canadian/Swiss/French production that tells the tale of Hannah, a tomboyish 13 year-old hitting puberty in 1963. An unhappy and uncomfortable family life leads Hannah to seek escapism in the world of cinema. Specifically, she repeatedly watches and appears enthralled by Anna Karina, the character from Jean-Luc Godard's "Vivre sa vie" (1962) about a Parisian woman's descent into prostitution. Her ... See full summary »

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
15 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Hanna
...
Mère de Hanna
...
Père de Hanna (as Miki Manojlovic)
Alexandre Mérineau ...
Paul, frère de Hanna
Charlotte Christeler ...
Laura
Nancy Huston ...
Professeur
Monique Mercure ...
Grand-Mère de Hanna
Jacques Galipeau ...
Grand-père de Hanna
Carl Hennebert-Faulkner ...
Martin
...
Prêteur sur gage
Michel Albert ...
Gardien de sécurité
Gary Boudreault ...
Boulanger
Marie-Hélène Gagnon ...
Propriétaire
Suzanne Garceau ...
Infirmière
Normand Canac-Marquis ...
Client de Hanna
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Storyline

Canadian/Swiss/French production that tells the tale of Hannah, a tomboyish 13 year-old hitting puberty in 1963. An unhappy and uncomfortable family life leads Hannah to seek escapism in the world of cinema. Specifically, she repeatedly watches and appears enthralled by Nana (Anna Karina), the character from Jean-Luc Godard's "Vivre sa vie" (1962) about a Parisian woman's descent into prostitution. Her confusion surrounding what is real leads to a crush for her female teacher and her actively pursuing what it's like to be a prostitute for an evening. Written by Len Massaar

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

28 July 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Set Me Free  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$4,905 (USA) (14 April 2000)

Gross:

$73,445 (USA) (15 December 2000)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Hanna sings and plays guitar during the closing credits. See more »

Connections

Features Vivre Sa Vie (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An Excellent French-Canadian Drama
19 March 2008 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This is a sometimes touching, sometimes disturbing, and sometimes funny look at a girl's transition from childhood to womanhood. Hanna's (the main character) life story closely mirrors the development of Quebecois society, and the film's 1963 setting furthers that idea. Hanna is caught between her father's Jewish background and her mother's traditional, Catholic upbringing. She spends her summers in rural Quebec while living in the rapidly changing city of Montreal. Also, she is influenced by Jean-Luc Godard's now-classic Vivre sa vie, and Hanna attempts to emulate the behaviours of that film's prostitute protagonist. This is a film very concerned with the beauty of self-expression while also acknowledging the challenges such pursuits present to us all (seen especially in the father's tormented dream of being a poet). Though the film deals with some very traumatic subject matters, it also leaves us with a glimmer of hope that is beautiful in its ambiguity.

Lea Pool's direction wavers between high degrees of realism and stunning experimental styles, and she weaves them together seamlessly to reflect Hanna's state of mind. Lovers of classical cinema will certainly enjoy this film. Some of the camera work--such as the film's opening few minutes, and Hanna's flight through the streets of Montreal--are nothing short of spectacular.

Finally, the acting of the film's central three characters (Hanna, her father, and her mother) is exceptional. Hanna's exchanges with her exhausted mother are genuine and heartfelt, while the fits of rage directed toward her father are equally so. Both parents play their roles with enough pathos to be convincing, but they stay well away from overacting or exceeding what the script requires of them.

Young people may struggle to identify with the themes of the film, but a slightly older audience will certainly be left with much to reflect upon.


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