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The Bowdoin French Film Festival

  • 2/20/2013 | 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Location: Visual Arts Center, Beam Classroom
  • Event Type: Movie/Film

The Bowdoin French Film Festival


7:00 p.m.
Beam Classroom, Visual Arts Center

A sensitive portrait of childhood just before pubescence, Tomboy, the second film by writer-director Céline Sciamma, astutely explores the freedom of being untethered to the rule-bound world of gender codes. About 20 minutes elapse before we learn the real name and biological sex of Laure, a gangly, short-haired kid about to go into fourth grade. Her family has just moved to a suburban apartment complex a few weeks before the school year starts. The clan’s relocation provides Laure an opportunity for re-invention, introducing herself to her playmates as Michaël —an identity that gives her the liberty to go shirtless and wrestle with the other boys, attracting the attention of crushed-out Lisa. Sciamma shows a real gift for capturing kids at play, filming the August afternoons devoted to soccer and water battles as their own otherworldly time zone. But the director doesn’t present an uncomplicated view of childhood: Laure/ Michaël, beginning to reciprocate Lisa’s smitten feelings, lives in anxiety of being found out as much as she revels in being a boy. Extremely empathic, Tomboy isn’t simply an earnest plea for tolerance: Childhood itself, the film intimates, is full of ambiguities, of sorting out what you are drawn to and what repels you.