L’indomptée [literally The (female) Untamed]
Director: Caroline Deruas-Garrel
Writer: Caroline Deruas-Garrel, Maud Ameline
Cast: Clotilde Hesme, Jenna Thiam, Tchéky Karyo, Renato Carpentieri, Pascal Reneric, Marilyne Canto
Seen on: 13.8.2016
Camille (Clotilde Hesme) has devoted the past decade or so to her husband, the writer Marc (Tchéky Karyo). But now it’s her turn – she applies for an artist scholarship at the Villa Medici to finally get started with her own writing career, and is awarded a spot. There she meets Axèle (Jenna Thiam), a young photographer who is also in the program. As tensions between Camille and Marc, who accompanied her, grow, Camille grows more and more fascinated with Axèle and the mystery she poses.
I very much enjoyed L’indomptée. It’s an atmospheric film with great performances that managed to draw me in completely.
Nothing much happens in the film, definitely not much that you don’t see coming from a mile away. Plus, it’s a calm film with long shots and not that much dialogue. I could understand if people found it really boring, but for me it completely worked. I attribute this to many things: for one, I would find a stay in such an artist residence extremely interesting and challenging. I know how much everyday life can get in the way of creativity (at least, that’s always the first thing to fall when I get too busy) and to be freed of having to earn a living and staying in an environment that fosters artistic expression and an exchange with other artists – it’s a dream come true, (although much depends on the other people staying there of course and it could also become a nightmare).
Then there’s also the fact that I completely felt with Camille and saw so many things in her relationship with Marc, it was so well drawn – and perfectly embodied by Clotilde Hesme and Tchéky Karyo. But it wasn’t only their relationship that I found interesting, even more intriguing was Camille’s relationship with Axèle. I could totally understand Camille’s fascination with her (who wouldn’t be fascinated by Jenna Thiam), and I loved that the film refuses to let Axèle become a total mystery.
And finally, I’m a sucker for metafictional elements in any story and here it becomes a nice mix of metafiction and supernatural occurrence that remains unclear and that leaves open room for interpretation, adding yet more reasons to re-watch it at some point and see the ways in which the film can be read.
Deruas-Garrel was herself a participant in the program at the Villa Medici – and if thoughtful, engaging and beautiful films like this are the result of that program, there’s even more reason to keep doing it.