[CRITICAL] UNKNOWN GIRL

To force to see them regularly to Cannes we would eventually forget about the great films of the brothers Dardenne : Rosetta, The Son, The child, etc, As many lurches in social environments that are often difficult, but sufficiently documented to make it exciting, the stark staging of the famous duo of the flat country. Characterized by a handheld camera, often a single focal length for a whole movie (the famous 50mm which translates to better the human vision), placed at the service of sequence shots of fast-paced thanks to a body language naturalistic but dynamic, the cinema of the brothers Dardenne if he was ever social was no less spectacular.

With THE UNKNOWN GIRL, the brothers Dardenne evacuate this dimension to the benefit of the exploration almost exclusively in brain the theme that they are taxed. Jenny (Adele Haenel) young general practitioner, guilty after we have recovered the body of a young girl who had come to his office without that it opens up. She launches into an investigation to discover his identity. His determination will prove to be the symptoms of guilt in the characters that revolve around his office, and , in fine, around the investigation. On paper, the idea is attractive, and we would have loved to follow the brothers Dardenne in this medical inquiry where the doctor asks the souls while auscultant the body. The potential of medical imaging is unfortunately placed under the carpet, in favour of dialogues that smell of formalin.

The language of THE UNKNOWN GIRL is not medical jargon, and those of the lower classes that the doctor is going through. The exchanges between her and her patients ring false, written with a felt-tip too thick which emphasizes the least under-heard. A sense of theatricality is created in the confusion of the literary dialogues and a directing, which prevents the body language to emerge, the same one which was the wealth of the previous films of the brothers Dardenne. The actors are content to enter through a door, stand facing each other and deliver their lines of dialogue. No contact, no gesture is initiated, not an object that would only serve to betray a contradiction or a dilemma… The humans are become balls of billiards, of which only the collision of interest the directors, for the sole purpose of observing coldly logical consequences on a scenario in ultra-deterministic.

The Dardenne dissect the feeling of guilt in a trial theoretical which is struggling to incarnate. Only Adèle Haenel who plays Jenny arrives to shoot the film towards the top, delivering a performance that is subtle. Despite the words that place the brothers Dardenne in her mouth, she manages to make us believe in the remorse of this doctor.

The Dardenne dissect the feeling of guilt in a trial theoretical which is struggling to incarnate. Click To Tweet

It is a bitter taste that stays in the mouth once the end credits appeared without music. The impression of having viewed a rough draft of a great idea, to have understood the essence of intellectual way but had not felt the thrill of moving past the films of the brothers Dardenne. Difficult to diagnose the reason of such a failure. Probably the activity of the producers asked them a energy that they have not reinvested in their own movie. At Cannes this year, the brothers Dardenne have co-produced no less than four films in the competition : Me, Daniel Blake, Bachelor’s degree, Pericle il nero and The Dancer. A prolific production that moves them may be of their own cinema. Wanting too much to encourage art cinema focused on social themes, the brothers Dardenne dilute their proposal film in a catch-all junk. THE UNKNOWN GIRL sign may be the decline of the two filmmakers who would do better to concentrate exclusively on their legacy rather than maintaining artificially the flame of their creation. In amount, the social cinema as advocated by the brothers Dardenne has never been better worn, in quality, if we can believe the selection of Cannes, it is a terminal cancer that only survives under infusions.

Thomas Coispel

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