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#Oscars2018 Foreign-Language Film: Today, September 26, submission from Canada.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Des Filles en Noir


In real life maybe there is nothing more disturbing than talking about suicide but I find that most movies that touch the theme have not really shown how disturbing it is as opt to show the horror when seeing the act being committed. In my opinion this movie also doesn't show how disturbing could be as director chose to show us motives that make you think about it, which indeed here are interesting as portraits something that nowadays is more relevant than ever before

The film starts when Noémie commits suicide, at least she tries as she is saved. Then we meet Priscilla and we come to realize how close Noemi and Priscilla are, they love each other intensively, but they are not in-love with each other. Theirs is a friendship relationship as intense as friendship could be, tied with a strong common bond, their disillusionment about what their future has in store for them and their total disrespect to what they are living.

They do not respect school as, why study if after graduation comes unemployment or being exploited by an exploiter? They don't respect love as they, besides the love they feel for each other, see no love around them as those who claim to love and/or care about them have taken everything from them. They don't respect sex as around them is used as an end that once achieved, there is not much left; which I believe is the reason why there is no sexual tension between them. Already said too much, but wanted to try to give an idea of what I believe is behind these two characters and the story that I don't think stays in giving a sociological point-of-view as goes deeper into a the infamous philosophical question: what is the purpose of life? A philosophical question that here is not place to philosophize but to concretely think about what many youths in the world have as a future.

Suicide is present here all over but as you perhaps conclude, I don't believe that is what this movie really is about.

Film name comes because both girls dress in black, which many think is because they're goth. Not me. To me they don't look or behave like goths and the only thing they could have in common with goth subculture is that they always dress in black but nothing else. I'm not alone thinking this as director clearly states it when he says:

... elles ne font pas partie d'une idéologie gothique, trop réductrice pour les définir avec justesse ... Si elles avaient été « gothiques », elles auraient effectivement appartenu à un groupe défini. Je tenais à ce qu'elles n'aient aucune appartenance. Ce sont des atomes libres, et c’est peut-être aussi cette liberté-là, immense, trop grande, qui les fait souffrir.

So in a way I find that the use of black costumes is an extension of the darkish color palette that predominates for more than half the movie as when the black dress leaves the screen, film palette also changes. Then transition from one palette into the other is done so beautifully that really eases the terrible scene we are seeing in the screen, when camera slowly retreats to show the beautiful flower colors in the garden.

I'm not familiar with Jean-Paul Civeyrac movies but those who are say that he likes to use symbols in his movies. Even when I read about it I'm not sure what they mean applied to what I saw in this movie, as everything I saw was too clear for me. One so-called symbol is in the scene when Priscilla violently kicks a Lalique chess board; whatever they find symbolic, to me is a clear statement against materialistic things and life.

It is an interesting film with many unsettling images, especially when darkish palette predominates, but I highly appreciate that film doesn't exploit the suicide theme and uses it so effectively to talk about other more interesting subjects.

Absolutely fantastic performance by the two young actresses, Elise Lhomeau and Léa Tissier, especially when their roles are very difficult and director seems to have made them even more difficult. I liked director storytelling style which I believe is also a strong protagonist in story. Film has above standard tech specs that make it a good visual cinematic experience. Civeyrac's movie premiered at 2010 Cannes at the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs and "just" took me two years to be able to watch it but wait was worth it.

Not for all audiences as I realize that film can be (or is) very brainy, you have to think beyond what your eyes see in the screen as otherwise you will be seeing only a sequence of quite unpleasant images/scenes with two girls that you will surely will not feel any sympathy at all. So if you don't mind thinking beyond the obvious, then this film is for you and only remind you that this is a very French film consequently be prepare to see it with an open mind.

Last have to comment about something else. This is not a lesbian interest movie or story, but it was hard for me to concentrate into everything that was happening because the most beautiful images of the two characters in the screen, which showed more love and caring than in many lesbian interest movies I have seen lately and perhaps ever. For whatever is worth, I shared my experience.

I strongly recommend this film to some of my loyal readers as definitively is a film that many could enjoy well beyond the obvious storyline. I liked movie a lot more than I imagined but then I had no expectations as this is one film where I knew nothing about story.

Enjoy!!!

Watch trailer @MOC

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