Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I am not a F**king Princess

Did you know that Nick Cave has a hunk of a son, Jethro Cave, who works as a model and, less so, as an actor?

Did you ever consider of dethroning a Queen, for example French Cinema Thespian Isabelle Huppert?

Do you occasionally admit to yourself that you kinda like Lolitas?

I was in Amsterdam two days ago, and, as boring as I may be, I found myself secluded in an down town cinema small as a doll house, watching one of the films of the Cine Premieres 2011, Frans Film Festival Program. TV5 MONDE and Institut Français do a good job, apparently; they achieve exposure of French films all over the place (I remember we have a beloved Festival du Film Francophone in Athens, GR, aussi).

The film I saw with funny Dutch subtitles, My Little Princess, is the semi-autobiographical and directorial debut of French actress Eva Ionesco, not to be taken for Eugène's daughter, cause she is not. She is, though, the daughter of somehow known photographer Irina Ionesco, of the erotica genre; and for that matter the abused daughter.

The story, which we more or less follow in the film, goes like that: Irina or Hannah Georgiu in the film, portrayed by Huppert is a very arty-farty woman, to whom boring everyday moral values and restrictions make no sense. She is a photographer and also a mother, a bit of an unstable one. One day she has the brilliant idea to take semi-nude photos of her daughter, who maybe ten years old in the film, but was four years old in real life. The photos are appealing and they sell well, but after a while the girl, Eva or Violetta in the film, is not all-so-enthused any more, but she finds it hard not to pose and confront her mum, which she eventually does. We basically see that bit in most of the film and only towards the end we get to see the follow-up of the story: the arty mum loses custody and the young daughter hates her forever and ever. She sued her couple of times for emotional distress and the case is not yet closed, but that we don't see in the film.

The film has a wonderfully bizare subject matter, a very interesting, but confusing and fragmented way of reciting it and no empathy at all, neither towards the mother, nor the child, which comes as quite a surprise, if you take into account the identity of the film-maker. Lovely outfits and the Marlene Dietrich styling make some scenes highly entertaining; even the fact that Huppert is mannered to the extent she was in 8 Women by Ozon, which was a musical comedy and that overplaying was much needed, is entertaining. I personally liked a lot young Annamaria Vartolomei and I think she has potential and, undoubtedly, beauty to offer us.

The inexplicable thing is that the film, despite raising some interesting questions, it feels so theatrical and fake that in the end it cannot be taken seriously as a drama, but more as a parody. But maybe this does not consist of a problem, why should it? Why can't we take films for what they are and enjoy them, rather than trying to put them in little boxes?

The Little Princess was showcased in the Critics' Week in Cannes Film Festival this year and well, it was good fun, I assure you, despite the scolding reviews I read for it. You can always go and see for yourselves.

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