Rien a Perdre (2023) Cannes Film Festival

May 25th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Virginie Efira, Arieh Worthalter, Félix Lefèbvre, Alexis Tonetti, Mathieu Demy, India Hair | Drama Belgium France 110’

A mother’s spirited struggle with the French legal system lies at the heart of Rien a Perdre, a fast-moving feature debut for Delphine Deloget best known for her TV fare and award-winning documentary No London Today that bagged a prize at the major Swiss festival Visions du Reel fifteen year ago.

Virginie Efira once again gives a feisty performance as the intractable Sylvie, a single mother with an explosive personality, trying to hold together her family of two tearaway boys – and a chicken – after the father of her youngest has cleared off. Teenage Jean-Jacques (Lefebvre) is a gifted trumpet player, but when his younger brother Sofiane (Tonetti), the more troubled and least fleshed out of the two, gets badly burned on the chip fryer, it becomes clear that Sylvie cannot cope.

Sylvie puts on a brave front but faces some difficult choices and her mental state has clearly suffered as a result. Her bother Alain (Demy) tries to help by offering Sofiane a home but is deemed too close to the problem. And her lover (Worthalter), is .

Sooner or later the authorities catch up with the family but Sylvie comes to blows with a pleasant social worker who proposes a move to a foster home for the boys. This turbulent intervention and the family’s slowly emerging backstory provides the driving force for the remainder of this naturalistic and often moving feature which offers Efira another chance to display her talent for playing strong-willed women. MT


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