Une part du ciel is a socially committed work. The protagonist, Joanna, is in prison for an unspecified act of violence related to union problems at the factory at which she was employed. The depiction of her dehumanized existence in prison is paralleled by the portrayal of the regimentation on the factory assembly line where her female friends are prisoners of yet another system that degrades and exploits women. Severine Caneele's performance as the prisoner is strong and sensitive. She lends an essential humanity to the social commentary in which the film is rooted. Une part du ciel, however, is a disturbingly uneven work. The characters and scenes that are directly related to the film's political agenda are developed to the point of being heavy- handed and didactic, while secondary characters and events are presented in a cursory, at times puzzling, manner. The visual syntax is also inconsistent. Shots are extended or truncated for no discernable reason. Camera angles seem arbitrary. The editing often obscures, rather than enhances the character development. Ultimately, the viewer is left moved, but vaguely dissatisfied, as if having been told pieces of a story that promises more than it delivers.
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