La Robe du soir / Evening Dress
31 March 2010
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Cast: Alba Gaïa Kraghede Bellugi (Juliette), Lio (Hélène Solenska), Sophie Mounico (La mère de Juliette)
Myriam Aziza’s first feature is like one of PJ Harvey’s jealousy/murder ballads brought to life. Except the protagonist isn’t an adult, but a sweet 12-year-old girl. Intelligent, studious, a bit shy, Juliette (Alba Gaïa Kraghede Bellugi) lives an average life with her over-worked mother and two brothers in a boring suburban complex.
Juliette develops a hard crush on her beautiful grammar teacher Hélène Solenska (the Belgian-Portuguese singer Lio). Which is understandable. In and out of the classroom, Madame Solenska controls her image in a perfect storm of education, seduction, and power that equates mastery of French grammar with sexual maturity. The entire class has a crush on her.
But during an unfortunate series of events, Juliette spins out of control, her perceptions uncannily accurate even if delusional.
A beautiful film of solitude – Juliette’s, her mother’s (a bravura performance by Sophie Mounicot), and Solenska.
Shot with a Red camera, which despite its reputation for difficulty is rapidly gaining acceptance as a means to Cinemascope effects on a video budget, the film has striking photography throughout and scenes of translucent beauty. See it for the phenomenal Alba Gaïa Kraghede Bellugi, and stay for a memorable experience.
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