Sibyl (2019)

Sibyl
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

Plot:
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)

Victoria
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

Plot:
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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Elle (2016)

Elle
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writer: David Birke
Based on: Philippe Djian‘s novel Oh…
Cast: Isabelle HuppertLaurent LafitteAnne ConsignyCharles BerlingVirginie EfiraJudith MagreChristian Berkel
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 27.10.2016

[CW: Rape]

Plot:
Michèle (Isabelle Huppert) is the head of a video game company. Successful, rich, happily divorced with two grown children, Michèle has a great life. But that is disrupted when an intruder brutally assaults and rapes her in her home. Afterwards Michèle struggles to get her life back under control, by alternatively pretending that nothing happened and buying various weapons. And it may very well be that this encounter with the rapist won’t be her last.

In the hands of another writer and director, Elle might have been a film that was smart about the difficult topic it approaches and that I would have actually liked. But I absolutely hated the film we got. SO MUCH HATE.

[SPOILERS]

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