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Thread: TOMBOY (Céline Sciamma 2011)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area

    TOMBOY (Céline Sciamma 2011)

    This opened for a week's run at Film Forum in New York. Hopefully it will go to other US locations. A good film, and a treatment of a tricky subject with a delicacy you might not find in a US filmmaker. Just reprinting my short freview from Paris May 2011. Sciamma is one to watch.

    TOMBOY (Céline Sciamma 2011) Sciamma's 2007 debut Water Lilies/Naissance de pieuvres ) was a sensitive study of issues of competition and sexuality faced by adolescent girls; it may look even stronger in contrast with the more ambitious but less suble similar film She Monkeys (Lisa Aschan 2011), from Sweden, a prizewinner at this year's Tribeca. TOMBOY focuses on a younger girl, Laure (Zoé Héran), who wants to be a boy. When her family is in a new place she tells the kids her name is Mikaël and she fashions a penis of modeling clay to make a bikini bathing suit realisticly male. She loves rough play and is good at games. She gets on fine with her kindly dad and pregnant mom and very feminine younger sister Jeanne (a charming, hilarious Malonn Lévana) but she is cruising for trouble with her pretense, especially when Lisa (Jeanne Disson) befriends her and thinks she's a potential beau. Sciamma excels at filming the neighborhood kids at play and the interchanges with Jeanne; the parents are poorly developed. It's all in the casting: Zoé Héran is wonderful in the lead role. You have only to look at her: she's a girl, but she could be a boy, and you love her even as you are troubled with her gender issues. Despite weaknesses, this is a brilliant movie that, like its predecessor, is deceptively low-keyed but actually bold, perceptive, and original.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-05-2022 at 05:33 PM.


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