Sometimes you just need a modern day fairy tale to round out your film festival going.
Isabelle Huppert as Isabelle in Souvenir
The US premiere of the Belgium/Luxembourg/France production of “Souvenir” starring French superstar Isabelle Huppert was a welcome departure from the last two movies I saw which were both on the depressing side. This film was not without a teeny amount of dysfunction but more in the tone of optimist meets pessimist. According to Bavo Defune, the film’s director “a pessimist is an optimist on a bad day!” But what appealed to me and why I chose this film 1) Isabelle Huppert is the main star 2) it has a successful comeback component 3) she sings who knew? 4) there’s a hunky young buff guy in it. Judge all you want, I don’t care! 5) it’s more of an art house film.
What I didn’t quite get but decided to dismiss (because it’s best not to question every little detail) is why Liliane (Huppert’s character) was working in a pâté factory in Belgium. It wouldn’t matter so much except that in the past (30 years ago to be exact) she was on the brink of stardom. She was a pop-music sensation who entered a Eurovision song contest and came in second-place….to ABBA. Losing to ABBA is not the worst thing that can happen in life but nonetheless…..a pâté factory? I guess it’s indicative of the total opposite of what life can offer and especially after such a long period of time. And we’ve heard what happens with some actors/singers who were successful in the past. I still had a hard time believing her day in-day out routine.
The good news is that a young co-worker named Jean (Kevin Azais) realizes who she is (was) and tries to pursue the very reluctant Liliane to pick up the pieces and re invent herself once again with him as her manager and love interest. Liliane feels definitely bitter about the past.
There were a few moments that left me wondering about the credibility of the situation but all in all with Huppert at the forefront, it was a very engaging and enjoyable film to watch. Besides…
She just took home the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a drama for her performance in Elle which I saw at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF). Other nominees were Amy Adams “Arrival”, Jessica Chastain “Miss Sloane”, Natalie Portman “Jackie”& Ruth Negga “Loving.”
It is definitely a win-win situation for this talented actress.
TRAILER (in French):