110 minutes, France, 2011, Subtitled, Colour, D-Cinema

Writer-director Mia Hansen-Løve confirms the promise of Father of My Children with this elegantly turned, thoroughly perceptive rites-of-passage story. When we first meet Camille (Lola Créton) she’s 15, waiting for her teenage lover Sullivan (Sebastian Urzendowsky), and convinced she’ll die if he ever leaves her.

He professes his devotion, but she can’t be everything to him – a year later and he’s travelling in South America while she continues her studies in Paris and follows his progress on a map. His letters dry up after a while and she’s devastated, but that’s far from the end of it, as Hansen-Løve charts the duo’s often contrary path towards maturity, pondering how you can truly become yourself when your formative years are so entwined in another.

As in her previous drama, there’s an unforced naturalness to the filmmaking, which actually masks a really astute control of colour and mood. There’s no showboating here from the actors, but we believe every moment.  Real class all round.  (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)

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