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Water Lilies (2007)
"Naissance des pieuvres" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  15 August 2007 (France)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 6,136 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 29 user | 71 critic | 12 from Metacritic.com

Summer in a new suburb outside Paris. Nothing to do but look at the ceiling. Marie, Anne and Floriane are 15. Their paths cross in the corridors at the local swimming pool, where love and desire make a sudden, dramatic appearance.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Pauline Acquart ...
Louise Blachère ...
...
Warren Jacquin ...
François
Christel Baras ...
L'inspectrice
Marie Gili-Pierre ...
La caissière (as Marie Gili Pierre)
Alice de Lencquesaing ...
Fille vestiaire
Claire Pierrat ...
Fille vestiaire 2
Barbara Renard ...
Natacha
Esther Sironneau ...
La vendeuse
Jérémie Steib ...
Le masseur
Yvonne Villemaire ...
La voisine
Christophe Vandevelde ...
Type boîte (as Chrisophe Vandevelde)
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Storyline

Three girls, each about 15, deal with puberty, the onset of sexual attraction, and, for two, the pressure of virginity. Marie, who's slight and diffident, quiet and nearly expressionless, is friends with Anne, who's a bit chunky and impulsive and has decided that François will be her first love. Watching synchronized swimming, Marie is suddenly attracted to the team captain, Floriane, beautiful, aloof, tall, and rumored to be a slut. François pursues her. Marie begins to hang around her; they trade favors, and soon it's an odd sort of friendship. Each of the three experiences her own first, and Marie must sort out attraction and friendship. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

15 August 2007 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Les pieuvres  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$7,418 (USA) (4 April 2008)

Gross:

$77,310 (USA) (8 August 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Marie first gets into the water, invited by Floriane, Marie's hair is already wet. See more »

Soundtracks

Blank
by Para One
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User Reviews

 
A Highly Promising Newcomer
7 October 2009 | by (Tunbridge Wells, England) – See all my reviews

The significance of French title of this film, "La Naissance des Pieuvres" which literally means "The Birth of the Octopuses", is rather obscure, so it is perhaps not surprising that it has been marketed in English-speaking countries as "Water Lilies". The "lilies" of the English title are three teenage girls, Marie, Anne and Floriane, who are members of a synchronised swimming team based in the Paris suburbs, and the film is a "coming-of-age" drama about the development of their first sexual feelings.

One feature of the film, perhaps unusual for a film of this type, is that it concentrates exclusively on relationships between the young people themselves. We see nothing of their parents or their teachers, and very little of the adult world at all. The three girls are very different in appearance, and are portrayed as being very different in character. The shy, retiring Marie is slim and petite and appears to be the youngest of the three. Anne is something of a plain Jane, Floriane a glamorous blonde who is very popular with the boys. The three, together with a handsome male swimmer named Francois, are involved in what might be described as a love-quadrilateral.

Anne has fallen in love with Francois, but he is smitten with Floriane, who seems to return his affections, although he is by no means her only male admirer. Indeed, not all of Floriane's admirers are male, because Marie has a crush on her attractive friend. The film charts the way in which their friendship develops; at first it seems that Floriane is simply using Marie as a convenient excuse when she is in fact going out to meet boys; her parents presumably object to her dating boys, but have no objection to her going out with female friends. Later, however, we realise that, despite Floriane's image as the sexy, popular girl who is always the centre of male attention, she actually reciprocates Marie's feelings. The film reverses some conventional stereotypes about sexuality. Anne, with her short hair and rather chunky figure, looks typically "butch", yet she is the only one of the three main characters who is unambiguously heterosexual, whereas the more conventionally feminine Marie and the glamorous Floriane are lesbian, or at least bisexual.

Coming-of-age films are common enough, although most of them tend to avoid the controversial topic of teenage lesbianism. "Water Lilies", however, deals with its subject-matter in a sensitive way, with three very good performances from its three leading actresses, Pauline Acquart, Adele Haenel and Louise Blachere. The relationships between the characters, especially that between Marie and Floriane, are complex, and capable of a number of interpretations. (Is Floriane, for example, simply using Marie for sex, or does she genuinely have romantic feelings for her? Could Floriane's sluttish behaviour with Francois and the other boys be just a device to hide her lesbian feelings from the outside world? Or even to hide them from herself?) This was the first film made by its young director Celine Sciamma (only 27 at the time); on this basis she must be regarded as a highly promising newcomer. 7/10


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