First published on 12 Jun 2012. Updated on 12 Jun 2012.
One of the great strengths of French cinema is its portrayal of troubled young women. The heroines of films as diverse as Vagabond, Swimming Pool and À Ma Soeur are lonely, desperate figures for whom life is an existential quest and sex is a weapon. Alix Delaporte's debut feature as writer-director gives us another great addition to that pantheon - and she is definitely no angel. "Angèle is really wild," says Clotilde Hesme, the lanky Gallic bombshell who plays her. "She has her own rules, her own way to act. I think she is quite harmed by life. She has just got out of prison and has to rebuild her life, to get her son back." Angèle is getting by in a small fishing town in Normandy by trading sex for favours and shoplifting. When she meets a dowdy fisherman called Tony (Grégory Gadebois) through a personals ad, she's surprised that he wants to get to know her before jumping into bed. "It's a love story but without any of the cliché of love story, because they don't seem to fit together."
Hesme says the part was written for her by Delaporte. "I played in her short movie six years ago [‘How You Break Going Down Hill']," Hesme explains. "She said, ‘OK, I am going to write a script. Are you seasick?' I said ‘No, I think I'm not.' We built the character together. Alix based her on Patricia Arquette in True Romance but Sandrine Bonnaire inVagabond was one of my main influences." The film's naturalistic style and gentle way of unfolding are its main pleasures, allowing the audience to find out things for themselves. "We are not giving explanations and that, for me, is really interesting in cinema. You don't say it: you use the image. Most of the time when we could erase the words and use looks instead, we did it."
Angele et Tony screens from Thu 5 May 2011.