Stamford Advocate

‘Slalom’ takes piercing look at sexual abuse in sports


‘Slalom’ Not rated: Nudity, adult situations, sexual abuse. Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes.

A timely tale of abuse, power and exploitati­on in the world of sports, “Slalom” is an eye opener, an intense, searing drama anchored by a stunning lead performanc­e.

That performanc­e comes from French actress Noee Abita, who plays Lyz Lopez, a 15year-old ski prodigy on her way to compete for the European Cup and perhaps, one day, the Olympics. She’s groomed by her mentor and coach, Fred (Jeremie Renier), who is interested in more than her ability on the slopes.

He takes advantage of her sexually, and the movie wrestles with the internal and external complicati­ons of their dynamic, and puts viewers inside the head of the young competitor while she tries to understand a situation that is well beyond her years.

Writer-director Charlene Favier is herself a former competitiv­e skier, and she’s attuned to the dynamics of coach and athlete, athlete and fellow competitor­s and the clarity required to shush down a mountain at 80 mph.

She applies those factors here, mixing them with the psychologi­cal trauma of sexual abuse and the turbulence of adolescenc­e, and emerges with a film that is as thoughtful and empathetic as it is at times difficult to watch.

Abita is able to convey the feelings of fear and confusion that Lyz is experienci­ng, as well as the feelings of affection she has for her abuser. She’s too young to fully comprehend what’s happening to her, and she’s somehow able to compartmen­talize her feelings when she competes, since her life from a young age has been all about winning.

“Slalom” has smart insights about our sports industrial complex, sexual misconduct within the system and the way teenagers are thrown into the fire and forced to fend for themselves. It’s not a true story but it just as well could be, and it’s a story that is true to all too many.

 ?? Mille et Une Production­s / TNS ?? A still from “Slalom.”
Mille et Une Production­s / TNS A still from “Slalom.”

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