Joe and Betty run a fish market and have sunk into a comfortable, if somewhat boring life. Enter the drifter Nick, who takes a job in the store and a place in their home. He proceeds to ... See full summary »
Robert M. Young
Edward James Olmos,
Maria Conchita Alonso,
Malmö, Sweden during the Second World War. Stig is a 15 year old pupil on the verge of adulthood. Viola is 37 years old and his teacher. He is attracted by her beauty and maturity. She is ... See full summary »
Tomas von Brömssen
18-year old Christian has just graduated from high school. At his summer job he is seduced by the 36-year old single mother Sanne. Soon he is drawn into a world of sensuality and his ... See full summary »
Marie Louise Wille,
Helle Merete Sørensen
A young man leaves his native town in southern France to discover Paris. Being too unexperienced and too naive, he drops into the reality of Paris 1991. He soon gives up his dream of ... See full summary »
Bertrand Tavernier is in top form with this gripping, superbly mounted drama set against the savage Catholic/Protestant wars that ripped France apart in the 16th century. Based on a novella... See full summary »
After his father's suicide, confused angsty 16 year old Paul goes to stay with his uncle's family. His uncle's wife is also unhappy with her life, so she and Paul have sex and only end up feeling even worse afterwards. Things get ugly.
Stocholm in the 1920s. Young Roland lives with his socialist father, Jewish mother and a boxing brother. His mother sells condoms illegally, and from them, Roland makes slingshots which he ... See full summary »
A boy in his early teens develops a crush on a grown woman old enough to be his mother only to discover she is also attracted to him. Marion (Emmanuelle Bercot) is a headstrong and ... See full summary »
June 1940. German troops are advancing on Paris. Odile, a widowed teacher, succumbs to the widespread panic and, with her two children, joins the exodus from the city. Philippe is on the cusp of adolescence, Little Cathy knows only that they are going South. After fifty kilometres, a German plane attacks, decimating the helpless refugees. Odile and her children lose everything. A shaven-headed youth appears from nowhere and leads them away from the carnage. His name is Yvan, he's seventeen years old. Cut off from the rest of the world and living in confined quarters, Odile and Yvan find themselves confronted with their own desires. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Andre Techini's "Strayed," or perhaps more accurately, "the lost" or "displaced" people, has a simple premise. A school teacher, whose husband was killed in the early days of the war, takes her two children and flees Paris in the face of the Nazi advance on the City of Lights. In the countryside, as they are stuck in a massive traffic jam made up of refugees, they are strafed by German fighters in a harrowing scene that reminds you a little of the bombardment of the advancing troops in "All Quiet on the Western Front."
They lose their car and all their possessions, but are rescued by a strange, resourceful teenager who becomes their guide, companion, but in some ways, their charge, as they try to hide out -- from the war itself.
This is the kind of film that most American audiences wouldn't like, because after that strafing run, not another shot is fired, not another blow struck. The story that plays out is about the main characters getting to know, tolerate and even grow found of one another, but then finding themselves faced with some uncomfortable choices.
Gregoire LaPrince-Ringuet is very good as the 13-year-old boy of the family who might have been elevated to the man of the house status, had not the mysterious teenager arrived on the scene. But rather than show resentment, he winds up doing everything possible to become the older boy's friend.
Gaspard Ulliel is quite effective as the older boy, a sort of domesticated wild child. But the film belongs to Emmanuelle Beart, who plays the mother.
Beart's character is fascinating. She has lost her husband, her home, everything she has except her two kids. She is on the road with them, dead broke, dead tired and close to despairing. But of course, she is a tower of strength, right, magnificently holding her family together in the face of personal disaster and global chaos.
Actually, no. Beart's character is depicted as a woman clearly out of her depth who can barely keep herself together in the face of the problems confronting her. She's like a ticking time bomb, ready to completely fall apart at any moment. The only thing that holds her together is her rigid, school teacher training that allows her to continue to run her fugitive family as if she is maintaining order in a classroom during an unplanned fire drill.
And it works. Beart comes off neither as the typical weak, frightened woman Hollywood movies presented so often in the 50s, nor the kick butt superwoman that we see so often in American films today. Beart is so frightened during the air attack that she pees in her pants. She is so in need of structure to take her mind off things that she starts cleaning the windows of the abandoned home they later hide in.
But she is also together enough to handle a couple of French soldiers who drift by, easily dealing with them when her self-appointed teenage protector is so unsettled by these two potential rapists he can't even stay in the house with them.
Beart underplays her role, which features spartan dialogue to begin with. But there is a lot going on for her and you see it all playing out in her eyes, and behind her eyes as well.
It is another great performance from this French star and the film would be worth seeing just to study her acting, even if she were not one of the screen's great beauties.
19 of 22 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?