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When Claire learns that she is five months pregnant at the tender age of 17, she decides to give birth anonymously. She finds refuge with Madame Melikian, an embroiderer for haute couture designers. And, day by day, stitch by stitch, as Claire's belly grows rounder, the threads of embroidery create a filial bond between them. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
I first caught this film on French satellite TV about 20 min in. It drew me into its world in a few moments. I watched about half an hour more, and then was called away. Knowing that the particular channel that aired it repeats the same film in different timeslots over a month, I asked my other half to record it for me if they showed it again. "Is it good?" My response was more important than I realised at the time: "I don't know. I need to see it again." Since then I have learned that for me at least, that is the mark of a good film. A film that makes me think, that bears seeing again and again.
Claire,checkout girl at a hypermarket, discovers she is pregnant by a one-night stand (the butcher in the store). Like many young girls her age the world over, she does nothing, perhaps hoping the problem will "go away" or resolve itself, until it's too late to do much more than have the baby. She rejects the man's offer of help or money. "I'm not angry with you," she says, "just go away. I don't want to see you again."
She lives alone in a room in her small rural town; her parents live nearby, but in this film nobody seems to get along with their relations- -not Claire's family, not her wealthier best friend with her own brother (whose parents employ Claire's). Claire fears that her bid for independence will come crashing down, so she tries to follow her heart by seeking a job with Madame Melikian, a professional embroiderer whose son has just died in a crash. Madame M. is locked into her private grief and pain, but seeing Claire's need,takes her under her wing. The film deals with their friendship that blossoms as Claire's mind expands along with her womb. Claire in turn has the chance to bring Madame M. back among the living, helping her to heal the breach with her friend's brother who was also hurt in the crash. The two women end up working together to finish an important project that will weave their lives together inextricably.
The film doesn't resolve every issue, because life isn't like that. The moment you get a handle on one problem, another pops up--if not for you, then for someone you care about. It is beautifully filmed and we feel that however these people's lives play out, the results will be positive. I remember seeing a very young Lola Naymark as Kicup in "Les Nouvelles Tribus". That flaming red hair really is natural...and she is a natural actress who plays the truculent, lonely, frightened adolescent hiding her fear behind a facade of sullenness and "dumb insolence" to perfection. Her opposite, Ariane Ascaride, gives a wonderful performance as an adult who is just as frightened, and just as determined not to let her fears, loneliness and pain show.
The only weak point in this film is the soundtrack. The scratchy violin is just noise, adding nothing but an irritating distraction to the "creativity" scenes. And I hope that the only reason they included the horrendous rock song that accompanies Claire on her scooter is that they didn't have to pay royalties on it. If they did, it was money wasted.
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