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ANGELE AND TONY

SYNOPSIS:
New to a small fishing town, attractive young Angèle (Clotilde Hesme) answers an ad in the personals and meets Tony (Grégory Gadebois), the fisherman looking for live-in help with his sick mother Myriam (Evelyne Didi). Angèle makes a crude move to seduce Tony but he rebuffs her; it's all too quick and superficial. He takes her on as a helper at the fish markets, and she moves into his brother Ryan's room, against Myriam's wishes, and with more baggage than what she carries in her bag.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The secretive, withdrawn and brittle Angèle who arrives in the fishing town comes with secrets the townsfolk can hardly guess at. She seems an opportunist, easily offering her body for favours - as in the opening scene.

Alix Delaporte reveals only slivers of information at a time about Angèle's past, which includes a young son. Delaporte seems to be trying to make something of value and meaning out of very slight material, which becomes especially noticeable as we see filler scenes (eg of Angèle endlessly riding her bicycle to and fro under tinkling piano) and extended scenes that do not warrant extension.

Performances are tops, especially noted actor Grégory Gadebois as Tony, who makes more out of his character than the script gives him. For much of the film, Angèle is a liar and manipulator which doesn't endear us to her, especially as she has a rather detached way about her and has virtually nothing to say. She is a pretty but seemingly vacant young woman with little of interest to add to the film.

Her journey is a simplistic one, from sullen victim to newfound happiness as she reconciles with her young son after meeting a man who takes her what she is.

In all, a rather perfunctory film about an odd little romance that invites us to shrug in that French way, as if to say, oh well ...

Review by Louise Keller:
The joys of this unusual relationship film are in the subtleties and the mood that is created. The film title may be Angèle and Tony, but Tony is not the only man in the life of Angèle, the rebel who is anything but angelic. It is the poignant relationship or lack thereof with Angèle's young son that is the driver of this debut film from writer and director Alix Delaporte, who envelops us in a small fishing village environment allowing us to discover what's right and wrong about its characters. Like a welcome breeze that brings a fishing vessel to shore, a beautiful music score caresses our emotions throughout.

When we meet Angèle, she is having sex with a stranger. It is clear that the man is no-one special and that Angèle makes a habit of answering personal columns ads. We are there in the café when she meets Tony but he is late and she doesn't have time to linger or to make an effort at developing a relationship.

Angèle is an enigma - we cannot work out what makes her so uncommunicative and abrupt. As she accepts a job she says she does not want from Tony helping his mother Myriam (Evelyne Didi) at the fish markets, we begin to learn about her. Thus begins their relationship. It is solely on a professional level. When she offers him her body, he rejects her, making it clear that he is looking for someone who wants him for who he is.

It is not until we learn Angèle's secrets that we begin to understand and empathise. She has many things to juggle and her priorities are keeping the parole officer happy and getting custody of her son, who does not have a relationship with his mother.

Clotilde Hesme and Grégory Gadebois are wonderful as Angèle and Tony - both characters are insecure and needy for different reasons. It is a difficult role for Hesme, whose Angèle is a rather unlikeable character at first who has no times for niceties. As Angèle begins to find a more comfortable zone to inhabit, Hesme flashes her luminous smile and slowly wins us over. Gadebois, as the stocky fisherman without looks or finesse convinces us of his integrity from the start.

I love the scene when Angèle is given the role of the wicked queen in the local fishermen's festival production of Snow White. As they stand in the wings, rehearsing the script (with Tony taking the role of Snow White), something magical happens. Their kiss in the room filled with costumes, while kids in white woolly beards and rainbow coloured dwarf costumes play act is a lovely moment.

With its economical script and cinematic approach, Delaporte tells his story with restraint and delicacy. Mathieu Maestracci's ever constant musical phrases are juxtaposed with beautiful images of the remote fishing village with its grey waters and churn of everyday life. I really enjoyed the journey and the resolution involving both the men in Angèle's life is nicely done with deft understatement.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

ANGELE AND TONY (M)
(France, 2010)

Angèle et Tony

CAST: Clotilde Hesme, Grégory Gadebois, Evelyne Didi, Jérôme Huguet, Antoine Couleau, Patrick Descamps, Lola Duenas

PRODUCER: Hélène Cases

DIRECTOR: Alix Delaporte

SCRIPT: Alix Delaporte

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Claire Mathon

EDITOR: Louise Decelle

MUSIC: Mathieu Maestracci

RUNNING TIME: 80 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Palace Films

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 19, 2011







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