Under the literally picturesque coloring of Florence Miailhe’s expressionist first feature lies a filmic fairytale: two children separated from their family by malevolent forces embark on a dangerous journey to a distant haven whose name non-randomly recalls mythical Arcadia. Like many fables the story inspired by the fates of the artist’s female ancestors is marked by a captivating contrast of gruesome details and arbitrary violence with fantastical beauty and innocence. The titular crossing leads to a chance for a safer life, but also into adulthood that starts with Kyona and her younger brother Adriel (Maxime Gémin) forced to flee their fictional childhood village.
While places and time are imaginary, the young protagonist’s encounters with ambiguous allies and antagonists remain compellingly realistic. One surrogate family is replaced by another as the trauma of loss keeps repeating itself. Early on in her retrospectively reiterated migration, 13-year-old Kyona (Émilie Lan Dürr) – a painter like the director and her mother – is cautioned to see the grey on her equally menacing and mesmerizing pilgrimage through a landscape as lush as Miailhe’s vibrant palette. Lush brushstrokes revering the Fauvist movement intersecting with the film’s historic anchor, cultivate an animated allegory of persecution and persistence into a revelation of art’s emotional endurance.
- OT: La Traversée
- Director: Florence Miailhe
- Screenplay: Florence Miailhe, Marie Desplechin
- Country: France, Germany, Czech Republic
- Year: 2021
- Running Time: 84 min.
- Cast: Emilie Lan Dürr, Florence Miailhe, Maxime Gemin, Arthur Perreira, Serge Avedikian, Axel Auriant-Blot, Jocelyne Desverchère, Marc Brunet, Aline Afanoukoe, Polina Borisova, Mehdi Guerbas, Samuel Debure, Anne Cart, Hélène Vauquois, Jenny Bellay
- Release date: 28.04.2022
- Image © Grandfilm