‘ Can you pass me the cookies? They are apple flavoured, I doubt you’ re going to like them…’
They are people like you and me, but I’m not sure if you going to like what they do for living.
I am also not sure if you are going to approve their choices and I highly doubt this cookie is flavoured with your favourite spices. There is too much stinging ginger, too much chocolate, way too many ounces of ground pepper mix, and definitely some accidental cigaret ashes in the dough. It is utterly French and disturbingly real, hiding problems and over boiling emotions behind the closed doors. It is the way Malgorzata Szumowska tells the story of Anne (Juliette Binoche) and her research for an article about two simple girls, who just happen to be prostitutes. While working on her piece, Anne is forced to look into her own life starting to question the vitality of her own family life and facing the upcoming clash of waves above her head.
Elles is a tasteful yet psychologically brutal story that, among everything else, illustrates the limits of the professional discoveries one can get into without losing credibility as a serious journalist. In the world of everyday life and the shadow of illusion and self denial, lies the truth of ones being. Because tell me, what else do you get when you mix self discovery, work, two wonderful yet detached sons and work-absorbed husband?
You will get the story of prostitution, simple human nature, endless lies, power, feminism and search for understanding served by Polish director. The intimate stories of the two prostitutes are presented in such delicate way one is left captivated by Binoche’ s exquisite response to the pure confession in it’ s sincere form. Binoche really offers yet another wonderful performance as feminist journalist fighting with her own secret and dark demons. Humanly needs and urges that are hidden deep in ones core have been let loose to the outside world to play and run around free, leaving the audience wondering about their own realities.
The thought provoking theme handling and the way film has been presented is everything else but simple ‘Girl from Ipanema’ elevator wallpaper music. Elles most certainly is not a piece of pumpkin pie for Sunday afternoon treat and meant for someone looking for easy entertainment. The bittersweet truth about what boils under the surface definitely serves it’ s place among the films at this years Berlinale Panorama section, which is one of the most diverse sections of the whole Berlin film festival. The anticipated premiere in February 2012 was well received and welcomed in the cinephile world, however it is questionable if this film will break its way to the masses. Elles will leave a mark in your brain for a while and wouldn’ t probably offer a simple oblivious daydreaming drift. Without wanting to sound too derogatory, I do believe that this is not a film for someone who’s amazed by the softness of standard Hollywood stories. Elles is for someone who’ s ready to admit that world is not only something seen on beautiful postcards.
The most wonderful thing in the film happened for me almost in the very end. The deeply troubling story finds humorous and very smartly built closing with the very last breakfast scene, offering a spectacle of regular family model. It needs to be mentioned that this particulat scene just might be one of the most genius and simple, yet very clear conclusion of everyday life, truth and relationship I have ever witnessed. Well done Szumowska, you have managed to capture the reality.
However I would like to leave you with this following short dialogue and ask you to answer the same queston for yourself. Whatever it is you are doing.
‘What is the worst thing about doing this?’