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MA VIE EN ROSE

SYNOPSIS:
For Ludovic (Georges Du Fresne), a little girl born into a little boy’s body, nothing is more natural than to change his gender. As a hopeful and sensitive child, he truly believes that a miracle will happen. No doubt about it, he will become a girl, and he’s in love with Jerome (Julien Riviere), his school mate, and son of his father’s colleague. Initially a source of amusement, an outrage begins in their suburb when the two boys are discovered pretending to get married. The family begins to realise with horror that his desire to be a girl isn’t just a little boy’s fantasy. They try to make him change his mind, but to no avail. The situation turns into a real-life drama as intense reactions of neighbours, friends, and teachers, create an atmosphere of bigotry, but Ludovic’s optimism remains firm.

"Alain Berliner’s first feature, Ma Vie En Rose, is a poignant and original exploration of the mental anguish and confusion of a young boy and his sexuality. Berliner looks skilfully at human nature, prejudices, conflicts and discriminations, and how they affect the family unit. Told from the child’s simplistic point of view, the film effectively uses bright colours to reflect fantasy, while reality is mirrored by subtler shades. The complexities of how parents feel about their children is effectively revealed, shooting straight to the core of relationships and emotions. This contrasts the sheer simplicity with which a child looks at things: Ludovic has a practical scientific explanation as to why he believes he’s a ‘girlboy’. (Dressing like a girl is worse than ‘putting the cat in the dishwasher’ we are told.) With an emotive music score, Berliner merges the lines between reality and fantasy, aches with a mother’s pain, and reels under the discrimination of the entire neighbourhood. Revealing and heart-felt, the film ultimately carries the message to accept each other for who we are, and that - from any age - we are all different. The performances are very real; Georges Du Fresne, in a remarkable film debut, will break your heart with his vulnerability and innocence; Michèle Laroque is wonderful as his mother, Hanna; Hélène Vincent moving as Elisabeth. Blending a comic with a dramatic approach to this touching subject, Ma Vie En Rose is a wonderful film - you may squirm in your seat a little and your heartstrings may be yanked, but essentially it is as revealing as you will let it be, capturing another aspect of the human condition."
Louise Keller

"I agree with Louise; I found the performance of the young Du Fresne incredibly natural, tremendously moving and at times equally lighthearted. The point of view from which the story is told is not unique, but the sheer freshness of the way it’s told is. It is an indictment of narrow minded and bigoted people, of course, and an exercise in exposing the giant irony that such people generate: righteous, morally upright, ever so straight – yet bent and twisted by the absence of humanity, and as Christian in spirit as was the Inquisition. The use of colour to which Louise refers, is exceptional, and coupled with the camera angles – usually looking down, observing this crazy world – becomes the filmmaker’s voice in the film. Berliner’s adroit manipulation of fantasy as a tool for his storytelling is cinematically brilliant. Absorbing and entertaining, this is a genuine pleasure."
Andrew L. Urban

"Few films about childhood have the rich resonance and sheer audacity of Ma Vie En Rose, certainly one of the most distinctive and exquisite films of the year. This may not be the first movie to deal with the confusion of one's sexuality, and it won't be the last, but it's the first to do so with as much intelligence, poignancy and honesty as this extraordinary work. Combining allegorical fantasy with pointed realism, the film is more about identity and non-conformism, as it is about a child's emotional and sexual confusion. When the film opens in a blaze of vivid colour, we see suburban families gathering for a huge celebration. The perfect lawns, the perfect families, everything is in its place. But for young Ludovic, society is out of sync, and he along with it. The character is a symbol of non-conformity in a society entrenched with archaic symbolism and perpetual order. Ludovic believes he should have been a girl, that he was born in a society not accepting of people deemed to be individual. Berliner's film is therefore not simply about childhood, about the larger world in which this character inhabits and tries to make sense of. Ma Vie En Rose is an elaborately textured work, a film that is both visually stylised to represent the perceived fantasy world of Ludovic, yet also deeply human and even dark. Masterfully and sensitively directed by Berliner, this is a truly remarkable film, an intelligent, deeply affecting work that remains an unforgettable and haunting experience."
Paul Fischer

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

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See Paul Fischer's interview with director ALAIN BERLINER

MA VIE EN ROSE (M)15+
My Life In Pink
(Belgium)

CAST: Georges Du Fresne, Michèle Laroque, Jean-Philipee Ecoffey, Hélène Vincent, Julien Rivière, Cristina Barget, Gregory Diallo, Eric Cazals De Fabel, Daniel Hanssens, Laurence Bibot, Jean-François Gallotte, Caroline Baehr, Anne Cossens, Raphaelle Santini, Marie Bunel

DIRECTOR: Alain Berliner

PRODUCER: Carole Scotta

SCRIPT: Chris vander Stappen, Alain Berliner

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Yves Cape

EDITOR: Sandrine Deegen

MUSIC: Dominique Dalcan

SET DESIGN: Veronique Melery

RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: February 19, 1998

 

AWARDS: Best Picture, Karlovy-Vary Film Festival, 1997; Best Foreign Language Film, Golden Globe 1998







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