This widely praised new French movie plays in a double-bill with Journal de France (Raymond Depardon & Claudine Nougaret, 2012). Details here.
There is beauty, simplicity and mystery in Katell Quillévéré's film Suzanne, about a truck-driver's daughter in France who gets into trouble. Sara Forestier brings passion to the role of Suzanne and François Damiens is excellent as her dad, Nicolas, who has done his honest best to bring up two girls – Suzanne and her sister, Maria (Adèle Haenel) – after the death of their mother. Everything is OK in their lives, until a handsome, moody guy (Paul Hamy) catches Suzanne's eye.
We see her story playing out in a sequence of intimate scenes, whose drama Quillévéré shapes with candour and calm. Suzanne's life advances in little jumps: time will have passed between scenes, sometimes revealing a new situation, and we must mentally readjust. It is expertly managed, with marvellous subtlety. I have watched the film twice (the first time was when it opened Critic's Week at Cannes last year) and still can't decide if the audience-wrongfooting effect in a certain grave-visiting scene is deliberate or not.
A tiny glimpse of something allows us to think that a heartstoppingly awful event has happened, but a later, fuller look at what we had only glimpsed shows us this is more awful than we thought. The relationship between the two sisters is lovingly portrayed, and the triangular dynamic with their father is wonderfully managed. It is moving and heartfelt, and Quillévéré makes it look very easy.
Here (and above) is an extract.