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Emporte-moi

Set Me Free

Growing up in Montreal in the early 1960s, torn between apparent opposites (Judaism and Catholicism, her warring, poverty-stricken mother and father), 13-year-old Hannah experiences an epiphany of sorts when she sneaks into a cinema and watches Jean-Luc Godard’s Vivre sa vie (My Life to Live). Indeed, with its citing of the French New Wave, director Lea Pool’s drama of identity and displacement might be seen as a latter-day, female retelling of François Truffaut’s classic Les Quatre cent coups (The 400 Blows), although it’s notably less harsh and much more forgiving of the foibles of its characters. What Emporte-moi captures is the joy of finding hope in books, songs and movies when you’re a lonely teenager. The wonder Hanna experiences following her almost accidental discovery of Anna Karina in Vivre sa vie shines through in Pool’s film. The inspiration of Godard’s heroine is beautifully integrated into Hanna’s story as she dances ˆ la Karina and begins to see her image in that of the female teacher (Nancy Huston) she adores. Played with miraculous sensitivity by Karine Vanasse, Hanna comes to identify with the feminine worldliness of Karina’s screen character and discovers that she is responsible for her own fate.
1999. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby stereo. 94 mins.

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