Entre les vagues [The Braves] (2021)

Entre les vagues
Director: Anaïs Volpé
Writer: Anaïs Volpé
Cast: Souheila Yacoub, Déborah Lukumuena, Matthieu Longatte, Sveva Alviti, Angélique Kidjo
Seen on: 16.3.2023

Alma (Déborah Lukumuena) and Margot (Souheila Yacoub) are best friends, currently both trying to get a part in a play. They would do anything for one of them to get it, and it is clear that either is fine, as long as it is one of them. When Alma gets the lead and Margot is cast as her understudy, nothing could be better. But then a cruel twist of fate crosses their plans and their friendship is tested.

Entre les vagues is a tale of a great friendship that celebrates the mischief and loyalty of Alma and Margot. That makes it incredibly entertaining, even when it overdoes it with the drama.

The film poster showing Alma (Déborah Lukumuena) and Margot (Souheila Yacoub) at a carnival, looking upward.

We only rarely get films about women who are friends (it’s become more in recent years), especially ones that aren’t about them competing with each other or even secretly hating each other. Entre les vagues manages to include elements of competition, but those elements never really threaten the friendship between Alma and Margot – they just mean that they have to renegotiate what their friendship means and how they can maybe individually pursue a dream that they had together.

That the two of them get into all kinds of mischief along the way gives the film an energetic and irreverent tone that seems at odds with the giant curveball the film throws at them and at us halfway in. And I have to admit that I would have preferred it without that curveball. Why not keep things light and happy? The film would have had plenty of tension and plenty to say even without a big drama.

 Alma (Déborah Lukumuena) and Margot (Souheila Yacoub) walking down a street, both with wads of tissue up their noses.

The play in the film looked interesting enough but, contrary to cinematic traditions, didn’t mirror the plot that closely, though you could probably conjure up shared themes if you really wanted to. Whether you like that approach or feel maybe a little disappointed about it is probably mostly a matter of taste. I am somewhere in the middle. But I definitely liked the way it gave Alma and Margot plenty of fodder to shape their friendship.

But it’s Lukumuena and Yacoub and their excellent energy with each other that really makes the film soar – and Volpé knows when to give them space and when to pull on the reins a little. That’s definitely a big strength, especially for a debut director. And it makes the film definitely worth seeing.

Alma (Déborah Lukumuena) and Margot (Souheila Yacoub) smiling together, their heads close.

Summarizing: well done.

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