Six-year-old Jeanne (Malonn Lévana) like pink: her bedroom is painted pink, her bedspread is pink, and she wears a pink tutu when she practices her ballet lessons. Her 10-year-old sister Laure Michaël (Zoé Héran) prefers blue. Céline Sciamma’s wonderful Tomboy—now available on iTunes from FilmBuff—presents their relationship and changing circumstances from their perspectives. The camera remains low as yhey watch their parents (Sophie Cattani and Mathieu Demy) chat in their new kitchen (the family has is moving to a new home just outside Paris as the film begins). Their mother’s belly is large, as she’s pregnant with a boy: they see mom smiling and excited, remarking the baby’s movements. Laure sees in her mother a new delight and also a distance: she wonders, without being aware that she’s wondering, how to regain her attention.
Outside, Laure finds a way, when she meets Lisa (Jeanne Disson), who mistakes her for a boy. Laure takes on the new role without thinking it through, naming herself Michaël and, over the rest of the summer, seeing how different life is for boys: they can take their shirts off, play soccer, flirt with girls. When Jeanne guesses what’s going on, the sisters hang onto the secret, exploring the possibilities of boyness how it frames experience and expectations. It’s this relationship that shapes the film, even as parents become upset and other children feel betrayed.
See PopMatters’ review.
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