It has been one of the most talked about movies of the year after winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Papers and rumour alike announced that it hadn’t passed the Irish Censor and was to be banned in this country. But thankfully this piquant coming-of-age tale of lesbian romance has scraped through with an 18 rating and is set to cause controversy as it goes on general release world-wide this week. An adaptation of Julie Maroh’s graphic novel, it doesn’t allow its tenacity to undermine the more vanishing, less distinguishable elements that make it one of the best movies of the year. The actresses deliver mesmeric central performances.
A central fascination in French cinema from Belle de Jour to Elles, and now with the most recent Jeune et Jolie, is the idea of willful self-prostitution. Each of these stories centers around a woman, tormented and beautiful, generally bourgeois, and always unfailingly disappointed by her sexual encounters. Her blood running cold with ennui she takes to prostitution. Francois Ozon’s latest focuses on Isabelle’s gratification with the money and attention that prostitution affords her, offers a curious and unsettling look at the anesthetized way we have become accustomed to engaging with sexual norms – a timeless topic that never fails to interest. Nymph-like Marine Vcatch takes the central role and is already an obsession.
Gabriel Byrne stars alongside Emanuelle Devos in this clever and understated movie about a fleeting Parisian encounter. As the opening film for the festival, the director Jérôme Bonnell and wonderful actress Emmanuelle Devos will be in attendance at the screening on Wednesday at 20:00, which will be followed by a post-show debate.
Rebecca Zlotoski’s latest exploit won her Un Certain Regard at Cannes this year. Down on luck and desperate for cash, Gary (an impressive Tahar Rahim, The Prophet) has wound up working at a nuclear power-plant. This forms the high-stakes backdrop to much of the action, as he embarks on a torrid affair with Karole (played by flavour-of-the-month, Lea Seydoux) the partner of a well-respected co-worker. As the tension builds, things go wrong at the plant and the affair teeters dangerously near the edge, the film rises in a enrapturing crescendo nearing disaster.
Roisin Agnew @Roxeenna