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Renée Le Calm
a portrait of a woman in 17 fragments, a woman who has just lost her husband, a woman who leaves behind her a life in the provincial city of Tours where every person, every object and every gesture holds memory of a love she cannot bear to have lost, a woman who proceeds forward, a bit blindly, as she essays to remove a great distance that has between her and her heart, which has become, in her mind, an unsafe place. beatrice dalle incarnates this woman, cecile cassard, giving a beautiful performance worthy of recompensation. perhaps even the cesar for best performance for this year. she doesn't merely act well, she inhabits this woman: dalle doesn't lie when she tells us, as she often does, that she lives a character while she is making a film.
the director, christophe honore, not forgetting that it is he who illicits dalle's wonderful performance, demonstrates a masterful command of visual storytelling in remembering that, in film, pictures have a more important weight than words in advancing a narrative story-line. much is heard in the french press and on television that this is an experimental film, a film without a linear narrative. no, in fact, the film is a conventional narrative at heart for it follows a linear journey of a woman as she strives to refind herself. and it is a beautiful story, mixing pain and loss with laughter and love. i look forward to more films by him in the future.
also of note is a good soundtrack by alex beaupain and les lily-margot and the beautiful cinematography by remy chevrin: they achieve a perfect symbiosis, such as in the opening sequence, the scenes at the abatoir-factory in Toulouse, and the dancing scene between dalle & romain duris, who plays the director's alter-ego of sorts, in the hotel where cecile first stays in Toulouse.
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