Sequins (2004)

“You’re lucky you found your passion in life.”

The film Sequins (AKA Brodeuses) is set in the French countryside and explores the developing relationship between two lonely, independent women who both find consolation in Art. Claire (Lola Naymark) is 17 and pregnant. She lives by herself and works at a local supermarket. After work, she spends hours on her embroidery projects–taking cabbages from her parents’ land and trading them for the rabbit skins she uses. She leaves her job at a local supermarket for two reasons–the father of her baby works there, and she doesn’t want her family to discover she’s pregnant. Ultimately, she intends to have the child secretly and then give the baby up for adoption. She applies for work at Madame Melikian’s–an Armenian woman who contracts with major Parisian designers.

Madame Melikian’s son was recently killed in a motorcycle accident, and underneath her austere, cold exterior, she’s depressed. Claire and Madame Melikian (Ariane Ascaride) are remarkably alike in many ways–apart from the fact they’re both amazingly talented, they are both introverted, independent, solitary women.

As Claire’s pregnancy progresses, it becomes more difficult for her to approach her mother–especially since her parents seem to have problems of their own. Claire sails through pregnancy in a state of denial–but her swelling stomach can’t be hidden indefinitely.

While the plot of Sequins sounds horribly corny (and the film is described as a tale of “female empowerment”–which doesn’t help), writer/director, Eleonore Faucher somehow manages to veer away from sentimentality and mawkish cliches–this is due, partially to the restrained performances from both of the lead actresses, and partially due to the subtlety of the script. Instead, the film is quietly excellent–with marvelous cinematography and scenes of the stormy French countryside and the fantastically beautiful projects both of these lonely women create. Warning, however–one scene contains some graphic, gruesome close-ups of the slaughter of an eel. In French with English subtitles.


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