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CANNES 2021 Cannes Premiere

Review: Hold Me Tight

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- CANNES 2021: With a very powerful formal gesture, Mathieu Amalric plays with temporalities and imagination to create a complex and sophisticated work

Review: Hold Me Tight
Vicky Krieps and Arieh Worthalter in Hold Me Tight

Inside a house, at dawn, a woman throws one last glance at her husband and their two children, all asleep. She hesitates about leaving a note on the kitchen table then thinks better of it, preferring to place a cereal box there instead before going to her car and hitting the road. “Are you fleeing something or what?” asks a friend at a gas station on the edge of town. Perhaps… Or perhaps not. Mathieu Amalric’s Hold Me Tight [+see also:
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, presented in the Cannes Premiere programme of the 74th Cannes Film Festival, plunges in an abyss of telescoping effects, echoes, superimpositions, flashbacks and flashforwards, projections and memories, in which a completely different story gradually emerges. This work could be described as a conceptual challenge, were it not for the hypersensitivity of the filmmaker and the presence at the head of the cast of Luxembourgish actress Vicky Krieps (star of Phantom Thread and Bergman Island [+see also:
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interview: Mia Hansen-Løve
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, among other titles), which imbue the film with a whole range of lived-in emotions.

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We shall not reveal here the ins and outs of the director’s free adaptation of Claudine Galea’s play Je reviens de loin, because the film’s entire project is to play cat and mouse with secrets and inventivity, seamlessly travelling through all kinds of temporal dimensions, creating loops and bridges — from the snowy mountains to the sea, from highways to the zinc of the bars where the protagonist drowns her sadness, confused and drunk, because her life has radically changed, as though she had slept for too long and woken up as the princess of spring.

The portrait of a family (with Belgian actor Arieh Worthalter), of love (from an encounter to the possibilities of the future) and of everyday life, Hold Me Tight unfolds across a vertiginous narrative structure, with stunning editing (by François Gédigier) and a very creative use of sounds. But beyond its high-level of artistry, this is most of all a very humane film, carried by its charismatic and poignant lead actress who gives herself completely to a very difficult role, playing a “normality” in intense internal turmoil. The film will also be a total delight for all music fans, especially those who love piano (the work of Martha Argerich in particular).

After On Tour [+see also:
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interview: Mathieu Amalric
interview: Mathieu Amalric
film profile
]
, The Blue Room [+see also:
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interview: Mathieu Amalric
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and Barbara [+see also:
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, Mathieu Amalric turns everything up to 11 and delivers a pure work of art, showing all the breadth and depth of his cinematic palette without simplifying it, maintaining instead the emotional chaos to the end. Hats off!

Hold Me Tight was produced by Les Films du Poisson and Gaumont (which is also handling international sales), and co-produced by Arte France Cinéma.

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(Translated from French)

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