Don your beret and join Aoife Byrne in looking at her pick from this year’s French Film Festival: Rust and Bone

Rust and Bone, buy cialis a French-Belgian film directed by Jacques Audiard, here follows the turbulent romance of orca whale trainer Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard) and immigrant bare knuckle boxer Ali (Matthias Schoenarets) as they attempt to help each other combat feelings of loss, recipe trauma, and dispossession. The idyllic Cote d’Azur town of Antibes presents the backdrop for the unlikely pair of lovers. Initially, Stéphanie and Ali’s differences in socio-economic background make them a dubious match, but after Stéphanie suffers a tragic workplace accident she is forced to re-evaluate her life by broadening her horizons.

Marion Cotillard, unsurprisingly, gives a moving performance, while Matthias Schoenarets’ rose to the challenge of depicting the emotionally-stunted Ali in an engaging and unalienating manner. Similarly, their stormy relationship is dealt with in a refreshing and thought-provoking method; it could very well have devolved into melodrama, yet it is handled sensitively without being overly sentimental.

Rust and Bone thrives in its communication that Stéphanie has gained more than she has lost through the accident. At first, there is a visible emptiness and falsity to her life, which is best expressed in the cringe-worthy, saccharine scene where she dances to Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’ while orca whales jump into the air all around her. Thankfully, Stéphanie and Ali’s consequent quests for self-discovery are more subtly portrayed.

The film was nominated for the 2012 Palme d’Or and won Best Film at the BFI London film festival, and it shows. It’s a visually stunning piece of work. Shot with a hazy, ethereal quality, the fogginess underpins the mental uncertainty of the main characters as they endeavour to come to terms with their inner conflicts.

This being said, the film is not without its faults. The disordered plot is a bit jarring. This problem perhaps arose in adaptation; the film is loosely based on an amalgamation of two very different short stories, ‘Rocket Ride’ and ‘Rust and Bone’ by Canadian writer Craig Davidson. The question remains whether the stories mesh well at all. For instance, the plotline surrounding Ali’s inability to hold down a steady job is curtailed to emphasise his ambition to become a professional boxer. Nonetheless, the director’s heavy editing of the subplot gives the audience the distinct impression that it is unresolved, leaving a bad taste.

The long-running release of Rust and Bone coincides with the French Film Festival 2012 underway at the IFI for the month of November. The festival will see prolific French actors and directors such as Juliette Binoche, Benoit Jacquot, and Reba Kateb, to name a few, involved in the promotion of French film. Films billed for the festival celebrate French contributions to world cinema at the Oscars, as well as the best from Cannes. Perhaps most interesting however, is the ‘First Time Directors’ aspect, which gives well-deserved recognition to new names in French cinema, like Alice Winocour, Elie Wajeman and Héléna Klotz.