Color - 118mn - Original version with French subtitles
9 September 2020 18:00
Screening presented by Marjane Satrapi
- French premiere
Produced by: Alex White, Jan Chapman.
Screenplay by: Rita Kalnejais.
Editing: Steve Evans.
Photography: Andrew Commis.
Music by: Amanda Brown.
With: Eliza Scanlen, Ben Mendelsohn, Essie Davis, Toby Wallace.
Milla, a teenager suffering from cancer, meets Moses, a junky and pusher on a train station platform. She falls madly in love with him. Faced by her desperate parents who resent this toxic relationship, Milla vehemently resists, and draws her life energy from this obsessive first love.
On paper, Babyteeth showed every sign of being a sordid melodramatic pathos filled film, but seen by Australian filmmaker Shannon Murphy, this adaptation of a play by Rita Kalnejais shines, miraculously mixing emotion and its oblique counterpoint, in a perfect balance. Because she doesn't judge them, she gives all her flawed characters a chance. Primarily, the filmmaker adopts Milla's perception, never letting her out of sight, revealing a magnetic attraction to her heroine and actress. Already impressive as Amma in Sharp Objects, and seen recently Greta Gerwig's Little Women, Eliza Scanlen shows immense screen presence. Despite the incomprehension Milla might induce, it's through her that we apprehend this totally unpredictable lesson in life, that leads us from one surprise to the next, far off the course of ordinary morality. Babyteeth abounds with moments of suspended grace worthy of American Honey's Andrea. An exceptional and uplifting teenage movie.
I discovered this film two days before the covid lockdown at the Lux Film Fest in Luxembourg. Usually I'm not a great fan of the genre: teenage movies never were my cup of tea. As Truffaut said: "Adolescence only leaves good memories to adults with a bad one", and it so happens I have a very good memory. So I started watching this film reluctantly, to finally embrace it and believe in everything and everyone. I ended up quite moved and in tears, to my great surprise.