TOMBOY Screening Friday 1st March 2013

Review by Margaret Pomeranz  on ABC Film Show
Gender identity at the cusp of adolescence is explored in Celine Sciamma’s TOMBOY. Laure, ZOE HERAN, is 10 years old, her family have just moved to a new neighbourhood with her six year old sister Jeanne, MALONN LEVANA. Her mother, SOPHIE CATTANI, is very pregnant, her father, MATTIEU DEMY, works with computers. It is a very loving family. When Laure meets up with Lisa, JEANNE DISSON, she’s mistaken for a boy and she goes along with it. She calls herself Mikael.

The mistaken identity can’t go on forever, school is looming at the end of the idyllic summer holidays. But even Jeanne is talked into going along with the deception.

This exquisite film is as pure as you can get, it’s observational, it’s minimalist, there’s no intrusive music except where it is part of the action. That fragility of a young girl, despite her boyish behaviour, is so painful, it’s been really beautifully and compassionately presented by writer/director Celine Sciamma. The performances are a knockout, they’re truly believably naturalistic. All the kids are great but Zoe Heran is just stunning, as is Malonn Levana as her little sister. This is just a wonderful gem of a film. Makes you glad some people make movies.

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