Ava (2017)

Director: Léa Mysius
Writer: Léa Mysius, Paul Guilhaume
Cast: Noée Abita, Laure Calamy, Juan Cano, Tamara Cano
Seen on: 24.5.2022

Ava (Noée Abita) has a rare eye condition that makes her go blind bit by bit. She just heard that this will happen sooner than expected, and her summer in the touristy town in which she lives with her mother Maud (Laure Calamy) and a baby sister is suddenly the last she might ever see. In trying to cope with that, Ava makes some very questionable decisions, starting with stealing Juan’s (Juan Cano) dog. Older, pretty and quite possibly criminal Juan intrigues Ava in general, and he becomes her path away from everything.

Ava is a challenging film, often a little surreal and ambiguous in its meaning. Your mileage may vary regarding how much you like it, but it is definitely a film that grabs attention.

The film poster showing Ava (Noée Abita) covered in mud aiming a gun at the viewer.
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Sibyl (2019)

Director: Justine Triet
Writer: Arthur Harari, Justine Triet
Cast: Virginie Efira, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Gaspard Ulliel, Sandra Hüller, Laure Calamy, Niels Schneider, Paul Hamy, Arthur Harari
Seen on: 3.8.2020

Sibyl (Virginie Efira) is a therapist who feels inspired to return to her first passion of writing novels. So she lets go most of her clients and prepares to write a novel. When she gets a call from the young actress Margot (Adèle Exarchopoulos) who is in obvious distress, she makes an exception and takes her own as a client as well. In Margot’s story, she finds the inspiration she needed for her novel, but the more time they spend together, the deeper Sibyl gets sucked into the story herself.

Sibyl gives us an antiheroine in quite a few very complicated relationships (and if they aren’t complicated on their own, she knows how to complicate them). This is engaging material, especially with that cast, but it does spiral a little too much at times.

The film poster showing half of Sibyl's (Virginie Efira) and half of Margot's (Adèle Exarchopoulos) face.
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Victoria [In Bed with Victoria] (2016)

Director: Justine Triet
Writer: Justine Triet, Thomas Lévy-Lasne
Cast: Virginie Efira, Vincent Lacoste, Melvil Poupaud, Laurent Poitrenaux, Laure Calamy, Alice Daquet
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 28.10.2016

Victoria (Virginie Efira) is a successful lawyer, divorced, and has two cute children, so between her job and her kids and leading her own (romantic and sex) life, it’s no surprise that things get a bit messy around her. But it is stressful and unclear how long she can actually keep doing it, when she’s already spending large amounts on babysitters and therapy. When she meets two old acquaintances at a wedding, her life takes a turn: Vincent (Melvil Poupaud) is an old friend and becomes a client when his girlfriend accuses him or murder and Sam (Vincent Lacoste) used to be a client who dealt drugs and is now looking for a job and becomes her assistant/babysitter.

Victoria is an entertaining, enjoyable romantic comedy that nicely turns some of the more sexist genre tropes on their head. Contrary to most Viennale films, it’s a bit of lightweight fun and I liked that gear switch.

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Le naufragé [Stranded] (2009) + Un monde sans femmes [A World Without Women] (2011)

Le naufragé
Director: Guillaume Brac
Writer: Guillaume Brac
Cast: Vincent Macaigne, Julien Lucas, Adélaïde Leroux

Un monde sans femmes
Director: Guillaume Brac
Writer: Guillaume Brac, Hélène Ruault
Cast: Vincent Macaigne, Laure Calamy, Constance Rousseau, Laurent Papot
Part of: Viennale
Le naufragé is a short film that is a prologue to Un monde sans femmes.

In Le naufragé, cyclist Luc (Julien Lucas) is caught with a flat near a small town at the sea. He gets picked up by Sylvain (Vincent Macaigne) who promises to help him, but things take a different turn.
In Un monde sans femmes, Sylvain rents out a holiday apartment to Patricia (Laure Calamy) and her daugher Juliette (Constance Rousseau). Patricia is looking for fun and revels in flirting with the men around her, while Juliette is embarassed by her mom’s behavior. And Sylvain just finds himself caught inbetween.

The reason I have grouped these two movies together like this is that they are basically one movie. They are not only connected by the setting and Sylvain, but also by the atmosphere and the general theme. And I have to say that I liked both a lot.

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