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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
This is the kind of film that gives 'Art House' a good name. Given the title and style it compares favorably with La Dentelliere and that is praise indeed. The story is simplicity itself; a young supermarket worker, Claire Moutiers (Lola Naymark) with a passion for embroidery and a life that is going nowhere becomes pregnant almost in passing. Having no real attachment to the father she has to decide how to deal with the situation. Her first move is to approach a local embroiderer, Madame Melikian (Ariane Ascaride) for a job. M. Melikian has her own problems; her son has recently died in a road accident and by chance, his friend Guillaume (Thomas Laroppe) who survived the tragedy albeit at the expense of a badly scarred face, is the brother of Claire's friend Lucile. Soon after starting her new job Claire finds M Melikian comatose in the wake of a suicide attempt and alerts the authorities. From then on the film becomes a story of friendship, trust, healing and love. I doubt if there is a speech longer than two sentences from beginning to end, instead there are stunningly simple visuals like Clair cutting cabbages (in French 'cabbage' is an endearment as in ma petite chou) or Madame Melikian's hand touching that of Guillaume when Claire brings them face to face. The film builds its effects the way the two leads assemble a tapestry, slowly, painstakingly, one stitch at a time. In a film where every performance is way above average the two leads stand out like twin beacons, one (Naymark) remarkable and one (Ascaride) magnificent. One of the finest films of the last few years.
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