Wednesday, September 19, 2012

17 GIRLS, from first-time film-making sisters Delphine & Muriel Coulin, opens

Taken from an event that happened in France a few years back, when a num-ber of high-school girls decided to get pregnant together and have their babies without any help or interest -- besides the original insemination -- from their fellows, 17 GIRLS (17 filles) proves a surprisingly smart, thoughtful, believable movie. These young ladies seem quite real and no more or less intel-ligent than French girls of this time and place might be.

The filmmaking duo -- sisters Delphine and Muriel Coulin (above, with Muriel on the left) -- have created a movie that's alternately funny, sweet, sad, and a little depressing, though not particularly deep. Nor can it be, given that its heroines are relatively clueless youngsters who think they know what's going on and what's ahead of them, but then realize too late that they've bitten off more than they can chew -- at their present age, at least.

What especially makes the Coulins' movie -- their first attempt at full-length writing and directing -- worthwhile (other than its array of very good and very specific performances from the girls, some of whom are shown above) is its take on how this rather bizarre situation is looked upon by society at large: from parents and friends to the school's teachers and administration. In general, French society, as shown, seems more enlightened than you might expect. And a hell of a lot more so than ours here in the U.S.A.

17 Girls, from Strand Releasing and running 90 minutes, was first seen by TrustMovies as part of this past year's Rendez-vous With French Cinema (this review has been expanded from my earlier post during Rendez-vous). The film makes its theatrical debut this Friday in New York City at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema and simultaneously will become available via VOD.

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