Screened as part of NZIFF 2008

Water Lilies 2007

Naissance des pieuvres

Directed by Céline Sciamma

Crisply observed drama of schoolgirl crushes, jealousies and sexual exploration on a synchronised swimming team. "Very provocative and stylish." — The Guardian

France In French with English subtitles
85 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Crystel Fournier


Julien Lacheray


Para One


Pauline Acquart
Louise Blachère
Adèle Haenel
Warren Jacquin


Cannes (Un Certain Regard), Toronto, London 2007; Rotterdam, San Francisco 2008


27-year-old French director Céline Sciamma makes an indelible début with her crisply observed drama of schoolgirl crushes, jealousies and sexual exploration. The film pivots on the relationship between the envied star of a school synchronised swimming team and a younger girl who becomes her tetchily devoted admirer. "A very provocative and stylish drama... Like the pool itself, it is a humid, self-enclosed universe, a place that Sciamma endows with frantic crushes, angst, yearning and frantically sexualised status-envy... Sciamma's sexual quadrangle exposes each of their vulnerabilities, and it discloses the awful gulf between boy and girl, girl and girl, gay and straight, and most agonisingly of all between pretty and non-pretty... Sciamma has made an impressively elegant film and elicited great performances from her young cast... and the poignant note of implied autobiography lingers in the mind." — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian