The UHF of the film world.
Latest news

Marina Antunes [Film Festival 10.08.10] France movie review news drama

Year: 2010
Director: Rebecca Zlotowski
Writer: Rebecca Zlotowski
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 8 out of 10

We all mourn differently but Prudence isn’t mourning. She’s trying to lose herself.

Alone in her flat days after the death of her mother, her sister off on her own and her father in Canada, Prudence is trying to find her way in the world. She’s sad, lonely and looking for a distraction which she finds in the world of motorcycle racing. She befriends a school girl from the wrong side of the tracks who happens to date a guy who is in the racing circuit and before she can figure out what exactly is going on, Prudence is thrust into this new world of adventure where the motorcycles are fast and the boys that ride them even faster.

Rebecca Zlotowski’s critically acclaimed debut feature Dear Prudence (Belle épine) is a beautiful and haunting tale of delayed reaction and coming to terms with loss. Prudence, loved by her family who also appear blind to her suffering, is left alone, trying to make sense of the loss of her mother through a cloud of religious practice (her family is Jewish) without guidance. To compensate, Prudence does the only thing she can, she ignores tradition and surrounds herself with chaos and noise in an attempt to drown out the loss.

The world of motorcycle racing is the perfect antidote. It’s loud, dangerous and new. It also gives her an opportunity to fit in with a group of others, even if it’s only as an object of desire; something new to have. Excited by the attention, she falls for a young man who seems genuinely interested in her but their first sexual encounter is immediately recognizable as Prudence searching for closeness. When she can’t find it with him, she tries to find it with his mother who brushes her off. With no one to talk to, hurt and confused by events she doesn’t really understand, Prudence finds herself, yet again, on the outside looking in and it’s the witnessing of a death on the race track that finally snaps her out of shock and bringing her to terms with the loss of her mother.

Aside from a brilliant script, Dear Prudence also totes an excellent performance from Léa Seydoux who brings Prudence to life, beautifully capturing a confused young girl. The story calls for a quiet, nuanced performance and Seydoux delivers, emoting with the slightest glance or turn of the head. Zlotowski provides Seydoux plenty of quiet moments and Seydoux fills them with emotion and power.

The film is accompanied by haunting score and set in the 1970s which is quietly brought to life in the background and allowed to simply exist, rather than taking over the emotion of the film. It’s the mark of a director who knows what she’s doing that the film manages to live and breathe in the carefully constructed setting without being drowned by it.

A quiet exploration of family, religion, sexuality and friendship, Dear Prudence is an excellent snapshot of adolescence and all of its turbulence and marks an impressive debut from a talented filmmaker.

You might also like

Leave a comment