Transilvania IFF 2017 – review – A YOUNG GIRL IN HER NINETIES (“Une jeune fille de 90 ans,” Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Yann Coridian, 2016, France)

A Young Girl in Her Nineties posterA Young Girl in Her Nineties, presented at the 16th Transilvania International Film Festival, is the new documentary by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Yann Coridian. The film confronts its viewers with the vulnerabilities of aging and, more directly, with the vulnerabilities to which we expose ourselves when we fall in love. Blanche, the film’s protagonist, is

Blanche, the film’s protagonist, is 92 and suffers from Alzheimer’s. She lives in a nursing home and, like most other geriatrics, she barely talks and moves; she barely appears to be alive. Then, one day, handsome choreographer Thierry Thieu Niang comes to the home and begins to interact with the old people through dance and by talking to them as his equals. His relationship with Blanche drives the narrative. She begins to remember and shares her memories with him. She falls in love with him, and their dancing replaces the physical and sexual manifestation of his love for him. A love-light starts shining through her eyes, like that of a young girl (in her nineties).

However, as the film progresses, we understand that by falling in love, she has opened herself to the pains of lovesickness and heartbreak; Alzheimer’s, in comparison, appears to ignorant bliss.

The tragedy of this condition is widely ignored by the poetic approach utilized by cinematographers Coridian and Hélène Louvart who, also thanks to Anne Weil’s editing, appear to dance along to the lively and melancholic soundtrack that constantly plays in the background. However, had the film been more distant, like that of cinema verite documentaries, then it would have missed out on a much rarer opportunity. The shameless romanticism of the cinematography is where the power of the film lies. In other words, A Young Girl in Her Nineties is not a noteworthy film because it represents the transformative power of dance; it is noteworthy because it allows viewers to identify with people in their 80s and 90s, who are often marginalized not only by cinema by society at large. – ★★★★

UNE JEUNE FILLE DE 90 ANS | 2016, France | Documentary | Directed by – Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Yann Coridian / Produced by – Marie Balducchi / Written by – Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Yann Coridian / Cinematography – Yann Coridian, Hélène Louvart / Editing by – Anne Weil | Running time: 85 mins.

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