Angèle et Tony

Writer/Director: Alix Delaporte
Producer: Hélène Cases

[In Australian cinemas May 19 through Palace Films]


This is the type of film that once would have been described as the perfect first feature film: largely a two-hander, it is a modest story set largely in domestic locations with natural lighting. And is it – the debut feature from a French director who has established her screen career in television and short films. However, in the current Australian funding climate, with genre imperatives and commercial pressures at heart, it’s the type of first film that might struggle to be made. In a market flooded with superheroes, ghosts and werewolves, it is refreshingly low-concept: a simple, modern, naturalistic romance.

The film centres on two people desperately in search of intimacy: one who seeks it through indiscriminate sex, the other who resists the vulnerability innate to physical contact. It opens with a random sexual encounter and spends the next 85 minutes on a carefully helmed voyage to real intimacy. In an idea not entirely new but certainly revitalized in the astute performance of Clotilde Hesme, Angèle must find rebuild her self-love before she can have the chance of a relationship from Tony (Grégory Gadebois), himself grappling with a deep and recent loss.

A fisherman, a boat full of paper flowers and the solitude of the sea, there’s a lovely poetic at work at the core of the film. However, ironically, the strongest part of Delaporte’s direction is her restraint against sentimentality. The most intimate scenes are played with a matter-of-fact candour, the emotional turning points rendered so subtle they are almost overlooked.

Hovering somewhere between Shone Auerbach’s Dear Frankie (2004) – also set amongst the fishing docks and Beck Cole’s upcoming Here I Am (2011) (funded through the Adelaide Film Festival), Angèle et Tony is an unassuming tale of two adults trying to find their way to each other in the wake of heartache.


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