France/Switzerland, 2006, 84 minutes
Sat, May 5 / 07:00 / Clay / PART05Y
Mon, May 7 / 01:30 / Kabuki / PART07K
Tue, May 8 / 06:30 / Kabuki / PART08K
Thu, May 10 / 04:30 / Kabuki / PART10K
The French title of this tale of anger, guilt and redemption translates literally as "not sweet," and it refers to the film’s main character, a young woman named Fred. As embodied by the oddly beautiful and effortlessly mutable French actress Isild Le Besco (Backstage, SFIFF 2006), Fred appears to us as a solemn, delicate creature with a gentle, acquiescent voice. Underneath that soft exterior is a defiance and self-destructive rage that smolders deep within, earning her the tart nickname. Fred works as a nurse at a hospital in a small mountain town on the Franco-Swiss border; her boyfriend has broken up with her, and she no longer speaks to her father. She also has a rifle, and she’s an expert shot. Director Jeanne Waltz reveals Fred’s character from a discrete distance but gets close enough to evoke the alienation and loneliness that make her suicidal. She takes her rifle into the woods with the intention of killing herself, but is distracted by two teenagers engaged in a tussle. In the heat of her own self-destructive turmoil, she impulsively turns the barrel on one of the boys. In a split second, an act of violence becomes an act of discovery that changes her life, and the boy’s, forever. Le Besco and Steven de Almeida, as the troubled teen, are outstanding in demanding roles, and Waltz sustains these two performances with a solid script and skillful direction. This is an insightful film that reminds us of the healing power of true engagement with others, doing so with subtle force and touching empathy.
North American Premiere. Sponsored by TV5MONDE, Alliance Française of San Francisco, Consulate General of France and Air France. Presented in association with the French Cultural Services, Consulate General of France and the French-American Cultural Foundation in San Francisco.