Two French winners on video
And it is smart, fresh, bracingly free of self-pity, and given to bursts of transcendently stylish image making. Moreover, Pool’s gift for imagery is of more than mere decorative import: Young Hanna (Karen Vanasse) is herself a fledgling artist, and all matters of visual style become integral to her particular version of the coming-of-age process.
Hanna’s story is also a free-form portrait of her family and friends: the father (Miki Manjlovic), a Jewish refugee from Poland and an unsuccessful poet; the Catholic mother (Pascale Boussieres), a loyal and melancholy spouse with shaky nerves; a loving and exuberantly ne’er-do-well brother (Alexandre Merineau), who falls for the wryly seductive Laura (Charlotte Christeler) just before she herself does.
The setting is the early ‘60s, and the youthful ménage à trois, Hanna’s crude sexual encounters with older men, her enthusiasm for her brother’s waywardness, and her defiant pride in being the child of a Jew and a Catholic who have never gotten married—all figure in her rite of passage. But none of these is quite as important as her obsession with Jean-Luc Godard’s New Wave classic, Vivre Sa Vie, whose doomed heroine she emulates in a variety of ways.