My New Friends (2024) Berlinale 2024

February 19th, 2024
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: André Téchiné | with Isabelle Huppert, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Hafsia Herzi, Romane Meunier
| France 2024 | French, Subtitles: English | 85′ | Colour | World premiere

Andre Techine was last in Berlnale with L’adieu à la nuit was screened out of competition in 2019. At that time gay sexual-awakening stories were still quite thin on the ground and his film, co-written Regis de Martin-Donos and Celine Sciamma, felt fresh and innovative.

His latest, screening in Berlinale’s Panorama sidebar, although decent  rather unremarkable as it goes over old ground although the subject matter – political activism – is still big thing in France (think ‘Gilets Jaunes’ etc). This politically-charged drama is carried by Isabelle Huppert, as Lucie, a widowed forensics detective who finds herself on the horns of a moral and ethical dilemma when a new family moves in next door.

The dramatic backdrop of the Eastern Pyrenees is once again the setting for a lowkey, human story that shows how political leanings weigh more heavily than ever before on our day-to-day relationships, threatening to disrupt even the closest of friendships. And this personal strife lies at the heart of the film.

This time around the veteran director is with his regular co-writer de Martin-Donos in a story that unfolds in the small village of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines, near Perpignan, where Lucie’s growing friendship with the woman next door (Hafsia Herzi) is put under pressure when it emerges her troubled husband Yann (Pérez Biscayart) has a hefty criminal record in police anti-activism with an ongoing involvement in violent ant-capitalist demonstrations in Toulouse and Montpellier. Naturally Lucie finds herself at odds with Yann exposing potential divided loyalties with his wife.

Huppert once again channels all the angst of a rather lonely soul who is forced to be even-handed towards her neighbours while at the same time standing by her private beliefs and professional credentials. Political activism is now becoming more widespread all over Europe and this makes the film thematically relevant despite its rather underwhelming presentation. @MeredithTaylor




Copyright © 2024 Filmuforia