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Foxfire by Laurent Cantet

July 15, 2013

Five years after winning la Palme d’or at Cannes in 2008 Laurent Cantet has returned to filmmaking with his fifth feature: the French director has always explored the trouble of growing up and finding/accepting your role in the adult world (Ressources humaines), or the way human relationships are influenced by (class, economic, racial) power – Vers le sud – and with The Class (Entre les murs) he managed to create a fresco fusing all of these themes; Foxfire is an adaptation of a novel by Joyce Carol Oates – Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang (just for the record: the book had already received a quite forgettable cinematic treatment in 1996) . The story is set in the 1950s and relates the adventures in growing up of a group of girls living in a small town in the US northeast, working once again with his trusted collaborator Robin Campillo, Cantet has shown a lot of respect for Oates’s work, the mood and the overall edgy sensations of the original story are not lost though Cantet’s style is more subdued than Oates’s unbridled one.

A period film could look like an odd choice for a director whose filmography is strictly anchored within the issues of our times but once you watch the movie you realize that the story can be set in the 1950s but the themes represent typical Cantet territory and the fact that the story is told by today’s Maddy produces an echo from present times to past ones and viceversa. Once again Cantet has chosen an effective cast, while Raven Adamson (Legs) and Katie Coseni (Maddy) are astounding as the two main characters, every actor/actress involved has done a really good job here, the filmmaking style is always fluid and nervous at the same time, there is much to enjoy during the film and to think about once the projection is over.

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