14 May 2012

Katell Quillévéré's Un Poison Violent (2010)

Katell Quillévéré's first feature Un poison violent, which is a little oddly translated as Love Like Poison, borrows its title from the Serge Gainsbourg song 'Un poison violent, c'est ça l'amour'. This is a coming-of-age movie starring Clara Augarde as the 14-year-old Anna Falguères, who returns home from boarding school to find several problems to add to the turmoil of puberty. Her parents – Paul (Thierry Neuvic) and Jeanne (Lio) – have split up, and Jeanne is seeking slightly ambivalent solace in Father François. Anna finds distraction with her dying grandfather Jean (Michel Galabru), but on one occasion she feels forced to run out of the room in horror: washing his feet, he just grins lustily at her like a monstrously overgrown pixie, and she discovers, looking at his trousers, that her attentions have given him a prominent hard-on.

Quillévéré's film (the script of which she co-wrote) is to some extent autobiographical, and she identifies with Anna's movement towards freedom: she begins as a somewhat religious young girl, but as Quillévéré lost her faith at the beginning of her adolescence, so Anna moves from an abstract love of God to the love of adolescent Pierre (Youen Leboulanger-Gourvil), a real person with whom she can share things. A lovely film.

I also saw Quillévéré's 18-minute short À bras le corps (2005), translated as With All My Might. Here, a the main actors are again young, some years younger than those in Love Like Poison, and the story concerns two young children whose mother doesn't (and indeed probably can't) wake up in the morning. It's inevitably slight and was made several years earlier, but there's an obvious mischievous energy in it which is not dissimilar to that which shines through the later feature.

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Petits entretiens filmés - A Violent Poison | Kattell Quillévéré

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