La belle saison
Director: Catherine Corsini
Writer: Catherine Corsini, Laurette Polmanss
Cast: Cécile De France, Izïa Higelin, Noémie Lvovsky, Jean-Henri Compère, Loulou Hanssen, Kévin Azaïs, Benjamin Bellecour, Laetitia Dosch, Sarah Suco, Calypso Valois,
Seen on: 26.5.2016
1971. Delphine (Izïa Higelin) just arrived in Paris to study. As the wide-eyed country girl she soon finds herself swept up in a feminist activist group, drawn in by the French-Spanish teacher Carole (Cécile De France). Both Delphine and Carole are a little surprised when they realize that their attraction isn’t in fact platonic. When Delphine has to return home because her father (Jean-Henri Compère) falls ill, Carole follows. But under the watchful eyes of Delphine’s mother (Noémie Lvovsky) and society in general, can their love work?
La belle saison is a nice film. It didn’t blow my mind with how great it was, but it was a really good film that I enjoyed a lot.
La belle saison tackles many issues. The setting in the beginning of the 70s is evocative and well-chosen with its very outspoken, even aggressive feminism (an anger and aggression that today’s feminism sometimes seems to lack, unfortunately) that Corsini waves easily into her story – and vice versa. But the setting also means risking the “but today all is well, gay and lesbian people can even get married” reaction that pushes prejudice and homophobia firmly into the past, as if it wasn’t an issue anymore today.
That being said, I do believe that anyone who has spent a little more time on the topic (and let’s face it, it is unlikely that the film will be seen by an audience who hasn’t) will know that this isn’t the case, and will instead recognize that some of the prejudices still hold true 45 years later.
But the film isn’t all doom and gloom. Captured in beautiful, almost cheesy summer images, Cécile de France and Izïa Higelin really make Carole and Delphine’s relationship soar. Personally, I’m not much into head-over-heels, let’s-forget-all-practicalities-and-just-love love stories (I’m way too pragmatic for them and also convinced that love mostly happens slowly), but they sold me on it for them. Even though they didn’t know each other for that long in the film, I believed the strength of their emotions. I believed in them. I wanted to see them succeed.
But I didn’t quite connect with it as much as I could have and wanted to. There remained a gap between me and the film that I couldn’t close and that kept me from the total immersion it would have probably deserved. Maybe I’ll just have to watch it again. I’m happy to give it another go.