Film Review: ‘The Sower’

Another version of"The Sower," Marine Francen's poised and miniature freshman feature, could have contained the long, fairly remarkable story behind its literary origin. Some mode of movie adaptation was unavoidable. Francen's, nevertheless, honors Ailhaud by telling just the story that she wrote, albeit with subtly updated language and aesthetics, underlining its enduringly provocative sex politics in the procedure.

The resulting movie is so finely manicured and exquisitely visualized the harsher, eerier specifics of Ailhaud's accounts stand out all of the more strikingly, like a shot of vinegar at a pristine crème caramel. Both proceeding on its own provisions along with an invigorating conversation-starter,"The Sower" has enjoyed a successful run of festival vulnerability and global earnings since emerging victorious from the San Sebastian festival's aggressive New Directors strand, even although this serenely accomplished introduction has arguably received significantly less than its because of the awards . That vendors from the U.S. and around Europe stepped forward is not surprising for a movie which, despite its reduced celebrity wattage, could alluringly be thrown to arthouse audiences as a cross between Xavier Beauvois'"The Guardians" and Sofia Coppola's pastelized twist "The Beguiled" -- although even with these reference points set up, it is a bracing, strange creation.

With sharp, stark sound tight and design, disorienting setup of this Academy ratio, the opening moments of"The Sower" plunge us into the violent terror of President Louis-Napoléon's 1851 coup d'état, as barbarous bands of troops on horseback tore throughout rural settlements into around up Republican sympathizers -- murdering a few and deporting other people. In the aftermath of one such grave, the distant hilltop village which is home to youthful, wide-eyed Violette (Pauline Burlet) is completely stripped of its own menfolk, leaving its shellshocked girls to work the land and live on what it returns. With another human spirit passing through for weeks on end, it is an isolated, uncertain presence -- resulting in a shared sensual dream, as the tired, frustrated ladies envision maintaining, seducing and discussing the very first guy that appears.

Virginal Violette is delegated to make him essentially buttering up the black stranger for the whole sisterhood -- one which, in times of hardship and male lack, has developed its own feminist legislation. Although the tone is mostly solemn and stoic, there is a silent streak of acrid humor running through Francen's eyesight of intense sexual socialism, a one-for-all-and-all-for-one setup that's quite inconveniently disrupted when Violette and Jean fall deeply and tenderly in love.

"The Sower" thus extracts a conventional star-crossed love from distinctly odd, circuitous conditions. Collective and individual desires clash at a narrative that flips and blurs the energy dynamics we anticipate from research of abuse and manipulation between women and men, although Francen's booked direction and sparely built screenplay (co-written with Jacqueline Surchat and Jacques Fieschi) withstand the lurid pull of this substance -- in minimal cost to dramatic pressure at a denouement that retains multiple battles in a civil simmer. Although Lenoir along with the winning Burlet (making great on her young guarantee in"La Vie en Rose" and"The Past") create an attractive pair of still-waters fans, the movie's most compelling passages concentrate on escalating tensions between the girls as they eke out a living with, as people mourning the loss of the guys whine, maybe not much to endure.

Cinematographer Alain Duplantier catches their everyday grind in a single exactingly composed, gently lit framework after another, allowing muted shafts of sun to heat the stony textures of Mathieu Menut's intense manufacturing layout, and nearly gilding the surrounding wheat areas in mature, magic-hour glow. In case the movie risks appearing a color too amazing for Ailhaut's largely tough-minded narrative, that is not by accident. In tweaking the origin's none-too-subtle name, Francen has efficiently named her movie for Jean-Francois Millet's famous 1850 painting"The Sower," among many Realist works of this period which sparked controversy at the Parisian art scene due to their tasteful, ennobling remedy of poverty-stricken rural areas. Francen's very own painterly movie gives its left handed, beleaguered girls of this soil the identical graceful therapy.
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