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Directed by Céline Sciamma

France, 2010

Cornerhouse, 25 September 2011


A touching and tender film, telling the story of a girl who wishes she were a boy.

The central performance by Jeanne Disson is wonderful and in fact all the children are astonishingly good.  We see the children on screen for about 90% of the time, though it is by no means a child’s film.

In a sense, it’s a film about the social construction of gender and the limited repertoire of gender roles offered by society.  But this makes it seem a rather dry affair, which was patently not the case.  There is the conflict between needing to be your own self and wanting to fit in.  And the angels of acceptance and forgiveness make a belated appearance.

A moving experience – chockfull of humour and sadness, moments of melancholy, charm and affection – and there’s a moral too: honesty is the best policy.  It put me in mind of those two poems in Conversation Pieces about a girl having a boy’s adventure; one by Jane Kenyon, the other by Karen Swenson.