Monday, 29 October 2012


Rare are films like this. It's ostensibly sparse, both narratively and aesthetically, but the narrow, steady focus allows for a depiction of a relationship and a lifestyle that is thrillingly vivid in its most intense moments, and also in its most informal. Ursula Meier's direction is intuitive to the specific requirements of each of these moments - she achieves maximum dramatic effect with minimum apparent effort; not that she's not trying, but that, in order to continue to perpetuate her film's naturalistic guise, she must ensure that only minimum effort is detectable, if any. Her success in this endeavour is that the story's twists (mostly minor, one in particular of more significance and inconspicuously unveiling surprising additional layers of depth) always relate back to the central characters, 12-year-old Simon and his older sister Louise. It is not what happens that matters, but the effects that what happens have on their bond. That Kacey Mottet Klein and Lea Seydoux are excellent in their roles is paramount to this same effect - the screenplay has entrusted them with rich characters, which they personify to a mark of quality that is bracing to behold. Agnes Godard's sensitive cinematography displays Godard's trademark respectfulness to the material, enhancing the experience rather than insisting on a different one, or contributing solely towards a disconnect of tone. It's typically outstanding work. Indeed, so too is most everything else in this film. And although the lasting impression is one of respect, and satisfaction at the artistry and deceptive complexity of this film, the immediate impression is one of emotional potency, accomplished in an extraordinarily acute and subtle manner.