This bold, luminous drama of childhood and gender identity centres on ten-year-old Laure, happily passing for a boy when her family move to a new neighbourhood. Superbly acted by a largely child cast.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
Confirming the talent shown in her debut Water Lilies (NZIFF08), Céline Sciamma explores, with luminous grace, children’s notions of gender and identity. Ten-year-old Laure and her family have just moved to a new neighbourhood. Her mother is heavily pregnant with a third child, a baby brother for Laure and little sister Jeanne. Androgynous Laure hovers between childhood and something else, still romping around at home with giggly Jeanne in her thrall, but also keen to strike out on her own and enjoy what’s left of the summer holidays. When Lisa, a next-door neighbour Laure’s age, asks Laure her name, she forthrightly responds ‘Michaël’. Soon Michaël, barechested and bold, is playing soccer with the local boys. However, trying out boys’ stuff requires deception that Laure will have difficulty maintaining. Among the terrific, unaffected performances from the young cast, Zoé Héran’s Laure/Michaël is a knockout. — SR