“Her Father’s Daughter”, by Erwan Le Duc: plunged at full speed into a marathon of tenderness

“Her Father’s Daughter”, by Erwan Le Duc: plunged at full speed into a marathon of tenderness

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In a rapid and swirling montage, to the music of Julie Roué, which goes from small happiness to delight and from worry to surprise, a lyrical excitement wordlessly speaks of life in accelerated fashion. Beginning and end of a love story. A young man’s soccer ball bounces in a clearing and stops right on a student’s banner being made. Meeting, love at first sight. Demonstration, CRS, scuffles…

Etienne and Valérie rush onto an inflatable boat, outrun the river police and embrace on the waves… Soon Rosa is born. And then, the mother’s blues, the family meals, the car trips back and forth. Valérie says she will “find a place” , does not come back. Bad twist of fate, broken romance, in eight short minutes flat. The opening sequence is stupendous. Everything happens as if the film had cast a spell on its protagonists.

Presented at the end of Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival in May, La Fille de son père , second feature film after Perdrix (2019) by Erwan Le Duc, former journalist at Le Monde , also director of the series Under Control , created by Charly Delwart, currently on Arte.tv, keeps poetry on the surface of things and plays leapfrog with realism. Striving to foil the spell, the film invents games of mirrors, slides from side step to side step, creates a diversion – from danced figures to pencil strokes –, combines literary writing with gags, produces sparks with little things, avoids the expected scenes of daddy’s girl and daddy hen…

Life outside of time

If we leave it at that, it could easily be reduced to a visual mechanism, with a series of surprises, if it were not constantly filled with tremolos and shots of blood to bring out the sensitive portrait of unconditional love between a father and his daughter.

After an ellipse of seventeen years, we find Etienne (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, touching and precise) and Rosa (Céleste Brunnquell, a blessing) in a square house like a box, which must date from the 1970s, in the Paris suburbs. They “grew up” together, just the two of them. There are many traces of the time, drawn from the scenes (the fight against climate change, the occupation of the high school by students, the ecological madness of the mayor, etc.), but all of this does not really seem count for Etienne and Rosa, who live slightly outside of time.

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