Water Lilies

"Very Good"

Water Lilies Review


Revolving around two members of a high school synchronized swimming team and their relationship with a petite, peculiar girl, Celine Sciamma's seductive first feature, Water Lilies, unveils its evocative fever-dream in the Parisian suburb of Cergy. At the recent New Directors/New Films Festival in NY, Sciamma's adolescent enigma was an inarguable highlight among some very strong competition.

It's after a demonstration of Anne and Floriane's submerged coordination, in a locker room, that François (Warren Jacquin) encounters a completely nude Anne (Louise Blachere). Anne's frumpy body doesn't excite François, but the teenage girl is left exhilarated by the exhibitionistic thrill anyway. Outside the school, Floriane (Adele Haenel), the swimming team's enchantress, agrees to allow the skinny, nymph-like Marie (an astounding Pauline Acquart) into the pool area next time they practice, in exchange for a forthcoming favor.

The favor asked is to be a lookout of sorts for Floriane as she runs off with François. The beauty's inability to go all-the-way with François becomes a point of intrigue both for herself and Marie, who begins harboring a romance for Floriane. Meanwhile, Anne daydreams of François deflowering her, going as far as to stand naked, eyes shut, in the locker room for the lean stud to discover her again. As Marie's flirtation with Floriane becomes a mutual affair, the tension between her and the insufferable histrionics of Anne's crush tighten like a vice, especially when François makes a house call to Anne.

Things get rather randy, but the enticement of Sciamma's film is considerably proper. At a club, the fumblings of an initial kiss between Floriane and Marie fluidly mutates into Floriane dancing with an older man. Even later, as Marie gives in to Floriane's pleas that she deflower her, the entire affair occurs under white bed sheets. Sciamma's artistry is in the gentle coaxing of adolescent allure while keeping its inherent mystery intact. Is there a difference between Anne's obsession with François and the emotional entanglement of Marie and Floriane?

Though minor in scope and with few real intricacies, Water Lilies nonetheless keeps the car running in what is already a banner year for French cinema (its major triumph, Hou Hsiao-hsien's Flight of the Red Balloon, opens on the same day). What makes Lilies so entrancing is the way that the taboo of feminine lust isn't pandered to as an oddity but rather as an all-too-natural efflorescence. Beautifully paced with an eerily-consistent tone, Sciamma's mixture of hormones, romanticism, and bruised emotions leads to sublime and strange places unfamiliar to those who follow the straight and narrow and quite reminiscent to those who still don't have the whole thing figured out.

Aka Naissance des pieuvres.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 15th August 2007

Distributed by: Koch Lorber Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Fresh: 33 Rotten: 11

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Celine Sciamma

Producer: Benedicte Couvreur, Jerome Dopffer

Starring: Pauline Acquart as Marie, Louise Blachère as Anne, Adele Haenel as Floriane, Warren Jacquin as François

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.