Copacabana: A bittersweet family tale
French diva Isabelle Huppert and her 26-year-old actress daughter, Lolita Chammah star as mother and daughter in the Franco-Belgian co-production Copacabana [+see also:
film profile], shown as a special screening during this year’s Cannes Critics’ Week.
Writer-director Marc Fitoussi already worked with Lolita Chammah on his previous film, La Vie d’artiste [+see also:
film profile], which also starred Sandrine Kiberlain, though in his latest effort it is Huppert who takes centre stage.
Huppert plays Babou, a woman living in the north of France who has a difficult rapport with her daughter (Chammah), who is about to get married but who would prefer not have her mother attend her wedding.
To prove her mettle, the flighty and chronically in-between-jobs Babou finally takes on a job as a seller of time-shared flats in Ostend, on the Belgian coast. She has to relocate there for the job, and though initially she struggles, she discovers she is quite good at it. She also starts a relationship with local fellow redhead, Bart (Jurgen Delnaet, from Moscow, Belgium [+see also:
film profile]), though their interaction remains mainly confined to the bedroom.
Carefully drawing his characters but especially focussing on Babou, Fitoussi makes a crowd-pleasing but intelligent film that is carried by the reliable Huppert. The actress here shows some shades of her acting palette, especially the lighter and crazier notes, we have not seen for a long time, and her scenes with her daughter feel scarily real.
The film – whose title refers to the idea that any place, even Ostend, could be a personal Copacabana – was produced by Avenue B in co-production with Arte France Cinéma, Mars Films and Belgian outfit Caviar Films.
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