Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Elza

There is matchless beauty here in both the actors and the setting, but this study of family and race needed a surer auteurial hand.

Nov 29, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1367928-Elza_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Parisian grad student Elza (Stana Roumillac) is a girl on a mission, namely to reconnect with her father, Désiré (Vincent Bryd Le Sage), a powerful tycoon who abandoned her and her mother (writer-director Mariette Monpierre) when she was child. She travels to her birthplace, the island of Guadaloupe, discovers his whereabouts living with his new family and, lying about her identity, is hired in his home as nanny to his little granddaughter, Caroline (Eva Constant).

Monpierre loosely based her debut feature film on her own search for her parent, and Elza is an undeniably deeply heartfelt work, filled as well with a love for the sensual beauty of Guadaloupe and its people. She offers many small, telling scenes which have a feminine authenticity and emotional truth, while not stinting on the kind of colonial racism which engenders comments like Désiré’s “With kinky hair like yours, you could never be my daughter.”

But Monpierre has a surfeit of subplots here, ranging from the local workers’ rather unconvincing uprising against Désiré, which briefly sees Caroline kidnapped, to the soap opera-like machinations of Elza’s new, utterly dysfunctional family. Caroline’s seedy father is, Just like Désiré, who has fathered numerous illegitimate children, Caroline’s seedy dad is one horny goat; stuck with a coldly unloving wife, he puts the moves on Elza. The mordantly humorous relationship the two manage to effect actually becomes the most interesting, original part of the film.

Roumillac is appealing, but her character isn’t developed enough, and she emerges as a lovely cipher. There are also too many moments which feel falsely histrionic, as when Elza leaps from her taxi, fully clothed, into the beautiful ocean upon her return to her homeland. Monpierre’s control over all the disparate strains of her screenplay is also shaky, and her denouement is both flat and too pat.


Film Review: Elza

There is matchless beauty here in both the actors and the setting, but this study of family and race needed a surer auteurial hand.

Nov 29, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1367928-Elza_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Parisian grad student Elza (Stana Roumillac) is a girl on a mission, namely to reconnect with her father, Désiré (Vincent Bryd Le Sage), a powerful tycoon who abandoned her and her mother (writer-director Mariette Monpierre) when she was child. She travels to her birthplace, the island of Guadaloupe, discovers his whereabouts living with his new family and, lying about her identity, is hired in his home as nanny to his little granddaughter, Caroline (Eva Constant).

Monpierre loosely based her debut feature film on her own search for her parent, and Elza is an undeniably deeply heartfelt work, filled as well with a love for the sensual beauty of Guadaloupe and its people. She offers many small, telling scenes which have a feminine authenticity and emotional truth, while not stinting on the kind of colonial racism which engenders comments like Désiré’s “With kinky hair like yours, you could never be my daughter.”

But Monpierre has a surfeit of subplots here, ranging from the local workers’ rather unconvincing uprising against Désiré, which briefly sees Caroline kidnapped, to the soap opera-like machinations of Elza’s new, utterly dysfunctional family. Caroline’s seedy father is, Just like Désiré, who has fathered numerous illegitimate children, Caroline’s seedy dad is one horny goat; stuck with a coldly unloving wife, he puts the moves on Elza. The mordantly humorous relationship the two manage to effect actually becomes the most interesting, original part of the film.

Roumillac is appealing, but her character isn’t developed enough, and she emerges as a lovely cipher. There are also too many moments which feel falsely histrionic, as when Elza leaps from her taxi, fully clothed, into the beautiful ocean upon her return to her homeland. Monpierre’s control over all the disparate strains of her screenplay is also shaky, and her denouement is both flat and too pat.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Immortalists
Film Review: The Immortalists

Attention-grabbing subject meets colorful characters in this science doc. More »

Before I Disappear
Film Review: Before I Disappear

Can't vanish fast enough. More »

Once Upon a Time Veronica
Film Review: Once Upon a Time Veronica

Marcelo Gomes' snapshot of modern urban life—as seen through the sharp eyes of a Brazilian woman—is strikingly impressive on every level. More »

Food Chains
Film Review: Food Chains

Vitally important, infuriating exposé of the world of injustice behind the food you consume. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Penguins of Madagascar
Film Review: Penguins of Madagascar

Frenetic vehicle for supporting players from the Madagascar films will entertain kids but prove a little wearying for their parents. More »

imitation game
Film Review: The Imitation Game

Terrific biopic about world-class mathematician and social misfit Alan Turing, who, in spite of a painful struggle with his homosexuality, helped the Allies break the code of the Nazis' Enigma machine. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here