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Queen of Montreuil by Sólveig Anspach

August 10, 2013


Agathe (Florence Loiret Caille) is returning home, she is a widow now and she carries her husband’s ashes in a rather bizarre container – though I ignore what kind of container could unbizarre going around carrying someone’s ashes – she is coming back to Montreuil when at the airport she meets an eccentric Icelandic mother and son combo, Agathe is struck by their story, she feels lonely, they make friends, they go to live with her for a while, Anna (Didda Jónsdóttir) will teach her how to become Queen of Montreuil.

Sólveig Anspach is a peculiar director and though she has worked mainly in France she is from Iceland and some of her stories contain a kind of quirky situations that make me think of Aki Kaurismäki, I’m unaware if this is a sort of Scandinavian feature but certainly it gives space to unusual humorous situations and the ability to deal with serious stuff in an amused and amusing way. Queen of Montreuil is a film about grief, friendship and the need to be open to new people and new chances in life, Anspach light touch is full of poetry and sensibility, it has an eye for our difficult times too (the Icelandic financial crisis), but the real sparkle of the film comes form the actresses, as different as they are the restless Jónsdóttir (an Anspach regular) and the ecstatic Loiret Caille are both memorable.

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