Director: Mélanie Laurent
Writer: Mélanie Laurent, Julien Lambroschini
Based on: Anne-Sophie Brasme‘s novel
Cast: Joséphine Japy, Lou de Laâge, Isabelle Carré, Claire Keim, Radivoje Bukvic, Roxane Duran
Part of: identities Festival
Seen on: 20.6.2015
Charlie (Joséphine Japy) is a calm, studious teenager. But then she meets Sarah (Lou de Laâge) who was just transferred to her school. Sarah is incredible and adventurous and so far has led a life full of travels and exciting men. Charlie feels immediately drawn to her and the two of them become fast friends. But as Charlie becomes more inextricably connected to Sarah with every passing day, there is something that starts to shimmer through Sarah’s wonderful facade.
Respire was very impressive, not only since it’s only Laurent’s second film: it was fantastically told and acted and drew me in completely.
Respire might not tell the most original story, although it is a change to see that kind of story played out with two girls. I don’t think I’ve seen that before. But no matter the gender of the protagonists, I could have told you pretty much every plot point well before they actually happened. Or, to put it more accurately: I coud have, if I hadn’t been so incredibly caught up in watching it all unfold.
But Laurent manages to spin a tale that completely enraptures and that takes the well-known story and perfectly sets it in scene: from the parallels drawn to the relationship of Charlie’s parents to the reactions of their friends. And with the last shot of the film and Charlie’s last look into the camera, she even manages to twist the entire film around and you start to wonder how much was actually as you thought it was. [SPOILER] Maybe Charlie manipulated Sarah, as Sarah suggests, and we just so an entire film through the eyes of an unreliable narrator? [/SPOILER]
But above all its the two girls who carry the film on their shoulders and both Japy and de Laâge are more than up for the task. They really are amazing actresses, especially considering that they’re both still so young.
In any case I had goosebumps throughout the film – and there wasn’t a single second that was too much or too long in the film, leaving me deeply impressed. I left the cinema with my jaw at about knee height. I really loved it.