Montparnasse Bienvenue Screen 7 articles

Montparnasse Bienvenue


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  • When I first saw Jeune Femme, I was bowled over by its dynamism and comic brio. . . . On a second viewing, I’d revise my view somewhat, and maybe play down the idea that Jeune Femme is strictly a comedy. It’s a very hard-edged film, one of those comedies that make you laugh because they go uncomfortably close to the edge of despair: Paula’s life in limbo is one of isolation and desolation, and her misadventures here are like a descent into hell.

  • Like certain Cassavetes films, or more recent work cut from a similar cloth such as the Safdie brothers' The Pleasure of Being Robbed or Ronald Bronstein's Frownland, Montparnasse Bienvenüe stakes all its chips on one key factor. Despite its protagonist's thorough unlikability, you will find them (or more properly, the actor's performance) so captivating that you will be unable to avert your eyes from what is, in terms of the character's behavior, little more than a twelve-car pile-up.

  • If there was one perfectly-formed, free-wheeling, surprise-laden killer-scripted, shot and acted debut, it was Léonor Serraille’s Jeune Femme... Snappily edited, and shot with intimacy and imaginative framing, the energetic Jeune Femme also skips along to a suitably spirited but melancholic electro soundtrack from composer Julie Roué.

  • Two moments of stunning direct address bookend this beautifully acted, droll and moving film... Dosch’s explosive performance in Jeune Femme, which is both highly verbal and often idiosyncratically physical, might lead one to assume that significant improvisation occurred during the shoot, but no. Sérraille’s script was meticulously written, even “écrit au millimetre,” Dosch said, which she appreciated, because it helped her “figure out how the character thinks.”

  • Serraille is less interested in neatly resolving plot strands than she is in depicting the furious moment with all its colour and confusion – a state cinema rarely captures. She makes no attempt to give Paula grand social significance or a clear moral position. All that can be said about her identity is in the French title: she is a young woman.

  • How on earth is she going to keep this up? That’s the question, posed internally, that sprang to mind while watching the gently delightful debut feature Jeune Femme... The film plays like an assured American comedy with its quick-fire pacing and conventional, redemptive arc. But the film is pure French in its tone and atmosphere – it’s a love letter to Paris, but one written in a concoction of red wine, blood and cat food.

  • A fearless, powerhouse performance by Laetitia Dosch infuses every frame of Montparnasse Bienvenue (Jeune Femme), the kinetic, incident-packed portrait of rudderless yet resilient Paula, a 31-year-old woman in emotional free-fall. This first film by writer-director Léonor Serraille is full of snap and surprises.

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