CANNES 2023 Proyecciones especiales
Crítica: Little Girl Blue
por Jan Lumholdt
- CANNES 2023: Mona Achache nos ofrece una conmovedora obra sobre el proceso del duelo, con todos sus defectos, pero con un toque de perfume
Este artículo está disponible en inglés.
With Little Girl Blue [+lee también:
entrevista: Mona Achache
ficha de la película], French-Moroccan filmmaker Mona Achache has made a curious docudrama hybrid, a highly personal documentation of her mother Carole, which has been entered in the Special Screenings section of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Starting on a deeply dark note with Carole’s death by her own hand in 2016, the daughter and director, left with box after box of notes, letters, tapes and photographs, starts to envision a mission – that of re-enacting her mother’s life journey, all documented and presented as a single work, process and result side by side.
Achache comes from a creative lineage stretching back to both Henri Bergson and Marcel Proust (neither of whom are ever mentioned in the film; there are plenty of other matters to deal with here). Her grandmother, Monique Lange, was a prolific writer, who also worked as an editor for Gallimard, and interacted with the likes of William Faulkner, Marguerite Duras, Marcel Camus and Jean Genet. The latter became a close but problematic friend, who severely transgressed some boundaries, including abusing Monique’s daughter and Mona’s mother, Carole, at a young age, more or less with Monique’s “approval”. Achache intercuts these revelations with some lovely nostalgic shots of seemingly carefree Saint-Germain clubs in the 1950s, adding further dark notes.
The main focus, of course, is on Carole herself, who had her own moment during the 1968 era of unrest, working with both writing and photography, and setting off on a wild and, at times, destructive journey, partly as a result of the permissive spirit of those years, partly because of her troublesome past. Bit by bit, those piles of boxes are scrutinised, with photos and notes pinned to the wall like in a crime-investigation drama, or sorted into systematic piles all over a vast studio floor. There are some quite amazing shots of them, where they almost feel like art installations.
The pièce de résistance of Achache’s documentation is a true installation in itself, as an actress is brought in to literally re-enact Carole – one Marion Cotillard, no less. In a scene that will surely make its way into the best-of-the-year summaries of French cinema of 2023, we see Cotillard being handed Carole’s clothes and accessories, including T-shirt, jeans, glasses, and even perfume and, rid of her own clothing, putting it all on. From then on, Marion is Carole, warts and all, accentuated with a squirt of perfume (and at times actually mouthing Carole’s words from taped recordings), leading us further into past events. Little Girl Blue, taking its title from a song heard here very fittingly from Janis Joplin, is an unorthodox yet proper piece of the grief process, deeply personal on Achache’s side and compelling for the viewer, who is allowed into these private rooms. One can also glimpse several underlying stories here, well worth their own film one day. Was this just the start of a new journey, this time undertaken by Carole’s daughter, rather than Mona’s mother?
Little Girl Blue was produced by Les Films du Poisson and Belgium’s Wrong Men. Its international sales are handled by Charades.
(Traducción del inglés)
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