Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2024 10:19 am 
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MONA ACHACHE: LITTLE GIRL BLUE (2023) RENDEZ-VOUS WITH FRENCH CINEMA AT LINCOLN CENTER MAR. 1, 2024

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MONA ACHACHE IN LITTLE GIRL BLUE

Marion Cotillard in a hybrid doc about the filmmaker's gifted mother

This intense relived portrait of the filmmaker's artistic mother tells of a Fifites and Sixties generation that was inventive and avantgardist more than normal, and also delved into drugs and experienced exceptional disfunction and abuse. A very mixed bag, then, and I confess that the 99 minutes seemed unusually long. This despite remarkable details fully justifying such hybrid documentary portraiture.

And the heart of the latter is the dramatized portrait of Carole, the director's mother and the subject of the film, as a slim woman, embodied by the great Marion Cotillard. The most memorable sequence is the opening one in which Cotillard sits at a desk with the filmmaker, who gives her slacks, blouse, wig, necklace, rings, glasses, even brown contact lenses to alter her eye color from blue to Carole's, and she slowly dons these and ritually, magically, becomes her subject.

It is unsurprising that this film was César-nominated.

It is, however, depressing to learn in detail of the mother's abuse by her father and by the writer Jean Genet, a family friend who was close to her when she was quite young. Further depressing to learn of her drug-addled move with her father, or one of the abusive "Jeans" in her life, and turning to prostitution because they had arrived in New York penniless. In the creativity it is hard sometimes to find positive values.

Little Girl Blue 99 mins., debuted at Cannes May 31, 2023, Paris premiere Jun. 20, 2023. Many other international festivals including Telluride. AlloCiné press 4.0 (80%), spectators 3.4 (68%). Screened for this review as part of the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Lincoln Center, New York (Feb. 29-Mar. 10, 2024. Showtimes: Friday, March 1 at 6:15pm (Q&A with Mona Achache and Marion Cotillard)
Wednesday, March 6 at 8:30pm

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