email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on LinkedIn share on reddit pin on Pinterest

FILMS / REVIEWS France / Canada / Italy

Review: The Braid


- Based on her best-seller, Laetitia Colombani’s movie is a hymn to female bravery which sidesteps melodrama and is buoyed by the wholehearted performances of its lead actresses

Review: The Braid
Fotinì Peluso in The Braid

Following a successful run in France, where it attracted upwards of one million viewers, and in several countries in Europe, The Braid - the third feature film by the Bordeaux-based writer, director and screenwriter Laetitia Colombani, based upon her hit novel of the same name which is sold in 26 countries around the world – is hitting Italian cinemas on 20 June via Indigo Film. It’s a story which celebrates female strength, interweaving the fates of three women in wholly unpredictable fashion, and whose big screen adaptation is buoyed by heartfelt performances delivered by its lead actresses.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Accompanied by Ludovico Einaudi’s piano notes, the story unfolds across three continents, headed up by three incredibly different women who are all at critical crossroads in their lives. In India, there’s Smita (Mia Maelzer), an “untouchable” whose job is to empty latrines in a village where “it’s better to be born a cow than a woman”. She doesn’t want her daughter (little Sajda Pathan, a real “untouchable”) to share her fate, so she sends her to study with the Brahmins. But discrimination follows her wherever she goes, driving the woman to leave her husband and run away with her little girl in search of a better life.

In a small town in southern Italy, meanwhile, we meet Giulia (Fotinì Peluso): she works for the family business which has made wigs out of real hair for generations. But when her father is involved in a serious accident, she discovers that the business is riddled with debts. Her mother is determined to force her into an arranged marriage in order to balance the books, but Giulia rebels and, with the help of a charming Sikh immigrant with long black locks (Avi Nash) whom she ends up falling in love with, she comes up with a solution to save the firm and the jobs of its employees.

Last but not least, in Montreal, Canada, Sarah (Kim Raver) is a successful lawyer who is separated with three children. She bends over backwards to reconcile her career and her private life, but just when she’s about to get a huge promotion, she finds out she has breast cancer. No-one can know because, “you can’t let yourself bleed in a world full of sharks”, so she lies to her boss and her colleagues. But how long can a person keep on accepting inhumane rules and putting work before wellbeing?

There’s a hair-thin thread uniting these three “Amazonians”, these three warriors fighting against prejudice and asphyxiating traditions, and who don’t know one another and won’t ever meet. The film leaps in turn from one country to another, from one story to another (the screenplay is penned by Colombani herself in collaboration with Sarah Kaminsky) and, to begin with, nothing seems to connect their far-off lives, whose differences are clearly foregrounded by the director, not least through film’s sound and visuals. It’s only towards the end of the film that the storylines come together, and the result is decidedly moving: namely a hymn to the courage of women which sidesteps melodrama and which even gets us daydreaming about the origins of the objects around us.

The Braid is produced by French firms Moana Films and Curiosa Films in collaboration with France 2 Cinéma, Canadian outfit Forum Films, Italy’s Indigo Film and RAI Cinema, and Belgium’s Panache Productions and La Compagnie Cinématographique.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

(Translated from Italian)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy