Milla (2017)

Director: Valérie Massadian
Writer: Valérie Massadian
Cast: Severine JonckeereLuc ChesselEthan Jonckeere
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 20.10.2017

Milla (Severine Jonckeere) and her boyfriend Leo (Luc Chessel) find shelter in an abandoned house. They are both very young and Milla is pregnant. While Milla looks at the world with a certain carefree outlook, Leo struggles to find a job to support them. But somehow they make it work, at least for a while.

Massadian’s first film Nana was an almost magical experience, so I knew I had to see Milla, while at the same time worrying if it could ever possibly live up to Nana. But I need not have worried – Milla is a beautiful, emotional film and a worthy sophomore film.

Milla is a slow, calm film that develops in time jumps while taking its time to let events and characters grow. Admittedly, towards the end the film gets a little lengthy, but I wouldn’t have wanted to speed up the film in any way regardless.

I loved the first segment with Milla and Leo best and I wouldn’t have minded if the film had spent even more time with them, but also after the first jump, the film managed to hold me and my interest and I never once lost my emotional connection to Milla and what happens to/with her. Jonckeere makes this possible with her amazing performance, especially considering that she’s neither trained nor experienced as an actor.

What struck me most about the film in its entirety is its absolute matter of course way to approach the topic, never shirking from the reality of the situation, nor making a big deal out of it. And even when it veers away from reality and breaks out, it’s done without any pretentiousness: it’s simply what the narrative seems to demand. That’s also why the film doesn’t become depressing at all.

The Violent Femmes’ Add It Up keeps appearing in the film and it fits so perfectly that it’s practically impossible not to fall in love with the song even as it strengthens the film even more. It is the last ingredient necessary to make Milla the wonderful experience that it is.

Summarizing: Beautiful, soft and delicate.

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