It’s Raining in the House (2023) Cannes Film Festival

May 19th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Paloma Sermon-Dai | Purdey Lambert, Makenzy Lombet, Louise Manteau, Donovan Nizet | Belgium, France Drama 82′

An artful and entrancing coming of age story that unfolds one sultry summer in lakeside Belgium where teenagers Makenzy and her younger brother Purdey are discovering love and life in their working class neighbourhood after their mother leaves home.

Paloma Sermon-Dai’s tender debut drama is another personal project for the Belgian filmmaker whose award-winning documentary Petit Samedi chronicled her brother’s struggle with substance abuse.

There is a distinct cinema verite feel to It’s Raining, the director drawing from her documentary experience, and once again casting her own relatives, real-life sister Makenzy, almost 18, and fifteen year-old half-brother Purdey, in a naturalistic feature inspired by her 2017 short film Makenzy.

Needs must when the devil drives, and the siblings have to fend for themselves in a story that is slim on plot but triumphs with impressive camerawork from Frederic Noirhomme (Playground) who instills the piece with a sense of soft-peddling, bucolic charm. The kids’ naturalistic often amusing banter avoids a melodramatic approach to their trials and tribulations, capturing instead the banality and frustration of their humdrum everyday existence, often with flinty humour.

But while Purdey is more mature and realistic in outlook, trying to get a job and talking to the social services after she splits with her controlling Moroccan boyfriend, her brother loafs around with his friends and steals from the local store to make ends meet. Purdey’s petty crimes gradually turn more hard-edged when he meets some kids from Brussels, providing the film with a sombre change of tone in contrast to the carefree vibe of the opening scenes. Time for Purdey to make some serious decisions about her future. Sometimes the strongest bonds emerge out of hardship. MT


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