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Samir El Hakim
Takes easy detours to make the outreagous palatable.
In France during the war, the government made it possible for women to give birth anonymously. This was to avoid the shame of giving birth to German babies. Fast forward 60 years later, the law has not changed and expecting women have a 3rd choice between giving birth or abortion.
Sounds far fetched? It's actually true. Half a million children were born 'under x' in France, with no possible way to discover who their real parents were, and no recourse. Half a million mothers had to give their ID cards before giving birth, in case they died.
La Brindille attempts to cover this very difficult and very unique subject. The production values are high. The acting is good. Yet the movie disappoints, because it takes every possible detour in order to make the unwatchable, watchable. Here's why:
The setting is 2011. By now, and since 1994, the government itself
realized its madness and implemented a series of laws to make a dehumanizing process bearable. Psychological follow up, free lodging, invitation to leave a letter to the child in order to explain his/her origins. The main protagonist benefits from all of this in the movie. No reference is made to the hell mothers before 1994 had to go through. It never happened as far as it's concerned. - The main protagonist conveniently doesn't realize she's pregnant until 6 months, and the 3 months we have to watch consist of chilling out with her boyfriend between bouts of (free) education. No reference to emotional stress, etc. It's borderline bizarre. - Every turn where the movie could have taken a turn to the dramatic is avoid in extremis: sure the other girls at the maternity center aren't great, but not exactly bullies. The lady in charge of the center is tough, but fair. The boyfriend is forgiving. The nurse is a bitch but because of ignorance but not willful cruelty, that itself lasts for 15 seconds. That's the luckiest unlucky french girl I've ever seen.
The only 'shocking' scene is the birth and abandonment per say, where the drama levels are raised (slightly). Still, the whole thing is filmed as if it was a documentary on french hospitals, and the maternal instinct are conveniently reduced to clichés, when even mentioned. PSDT has 20 seconds of screen time.
It goes from bad to worse when the mother actually returns to the hospital to see her child (if i'm correct that's technically not even allowed in the real word), and tries to give a 'moral angle' to something that didn't need it.
TL;DR: the move trivialized childbirth, abandonment, backwards laws and cruelty to both mothers and children. It's a lazy approach to a subject that should scream controversy and instead leaves you flat, and leaves you wondering if it wasn't shot to appease political groups.
A gigantic missed opportunity, saved only by its production values and the fact it's the only movie even covering the topic.
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