SEX­U­AL­ITY AS RARELY SEEN

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - STREET WATCH -

BASED on the novel of the same name, From the Land of the Moon is an­other wel­come show­case for the tal­ents of ac­tress Mar­ion Cotil­lard that spices up this year’s Al­liance Fran­caise French Film Fes­ti­val.

Gabrielle (Cotil­lard) is a young 1950s French woman whose pas­sion and free-spirit­ed­ness is frowned upon by her con­ser­va­tive com­mu­nity and fam­ily, par­tic­u­larly her mother who wants her mar­ried off.

She is set up with poor labourer Jose Rabas­cal (Alex Bren­de­muhl) in a mar­riage of con­ve­nience that nei­ther is happy about.

When Gabrielle is sent to a re­treat in the Alps for med­i­cal treat­ment, she meets and falls in love with in­jured war vet­eran An­dre (Louis Gar­rel).

Cotil­lard turns in an­other flaw­less per­for­mance of a com­plex, well-rounded char­ac­ter who is not al­ways re­lat­able or like­able but is al­ways un­apolo­get­i­cally her­self.

Gabrielle’s ex­plo­ration of her own sex­u­al­ity, de­sires and search for love is some­thing rarely an­a­lysed in film, and par­tic­u­larly in its de­pic­tion here as a bor­der­line burn­ing ob­ses­sion.

The story, which arcs from drama to ro­mance, is nicely cap­tured by cin­e­matog­ra­pher Christophe Beau­carne, par­tic­u­larly when it shifts to the scenic Alps.

The M. Night Shya­malan-style twist in the end at­tempts to con­vey tragedy, yet it comes off gim­micky; a key re­veal via a pho­to­graph is down­right com­i­cal when emo­tions should be hit­ting hard.

From the Land of the Moon screens as part of the fes­ti­val, which runs un­til April 5.

Mar­ion Cotil­lard in From the Land of the Moon.

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