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Seaside takes place in a small coastal town on the Bay of Somme. The year-round inhabitants find ways to make their lives work; Paul, a lifeguard in the summer, works at the grocery all winter. His mother, Rose (Ogier) likes to play the slots just about anytime; his girlfriend Marie works in the local factory - the town's biggest business - but watching the summertime vacationers each year just makes her increasingly curious about what else might be out there. From these and several other stories, aided by close, revealing observations, we see a community perched between transition and stasis. Written by
Interesting movie that depicts a different aspect of France
Bord de Mer is an unusual French movie. The director, Julie Lopes-Curval, provides us with an image of France that tourists--and filmgoers--rarely see.
This film is set entirely in a small seaside town. Few French tourists visit, and apparently international tourists have not yet discovered the site.
Besides some seasonal tourism, the only obvious local industry is a factory that converts the stones from the shore into industrial materials. The jobs performed by the women workers at this factory are horrendously boring. The workers stand all day as a conveyor belts moves small stones along. These stones must be hand sorted to eliminate defective ones. Imagine standing at an assembly line for eight hours every day sorting stones, and you can understand the desperation of the workers.
The social classes in the town are divided into the factory workers and other townspeople who find what work they can--in shops, as lifeguards--and the wealthy few who own or manage the factory.
In the warm weather, the "summer people" arrive. These people are not tourists in the sense that they are passing through; they tend to own summer property and spend several months in their summer homes each year. Nonetheless, they have little in common with--or knowledge about--the people who live in the area all year.
The movie takes us through a year in the town. People watch their fortunes rise or fall, or just watch another year pass by.
This is an ensemble film, and the acting quality is good. However, I didn't recognize any of the actors other than Bulle Ogier as Rose, a compulsive gambler who only simply cannot stop gambling, even after she has lost everything she owns or can borrow.
The interesting young actor Hélène Fillières plays Marie, one of the factory workers, who suddenly realizes that what she has to look forward to, after 20 years on the assembly line, is only a watch and a bottle of champagne. Marie's moment of realization, and the choices she makes at that critical point, constitute one of the major sources of drama in the movie.
I think that this is a movie that would be much more satisfying to someone who is a native speaker of French, or at least has a detailed knowledge of French society. I'm certain that many subtle differences in regional and class accents went right past me. Even so, this is a quiet, intelligent movie that is worth seeing.
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