Review: ‘Iris in Bloom’

A brief encounter between a beautiful teenage femme from the sticks and a ruggedly handsome older man elicits life-changing results for both.

Co-helmed by shorts director Valerie Mrejen and novelist/film executive Bertrand Schefer “Iris in Bloom” is one of those films the French seem to grow hydroponically in industrial quantities. Concerning a brief encounter between a beautiful teenage femme from the sticks and a ruggedly handsome older man, with life-changing results for both, pic reps a catalogue raisonne of upmarket, Gallic cinematic cliches, from the arch literary dialogue and hazy approach to explication to the studied air of ennui throughout. Stars Lola Creton and Stanislas Merhar should ensure some visibility locally and export pic to die-hard Francophile distribs offshore.

Shot mostly around Western French cities Nantes and St. Nazaire, pic starts by introducing Iris (Creton, “Bluebeard”), a bright, willful 18-year-old so pretty she can get away with wearing her hair an uncombed mess and still look jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Jean (Merhar), a photographer, gives Iris a lift one day and the two are attracted to each other, despite the fact that she kinda has a b.f. (Ferdinand Regent ) and he a partner (Valerie Donzelli). The rest is surprisingly chaste and irritatingly pointless, even with so brief a running time.

Iris in Bloom

France

Production

A Shellac release of an Aurora Films production in association with Le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains, with the participation of the regions of Pays de la Loire and Limousin, in partnership with CNC, the region of Ile-de-France, the Seine-Saint-Denis department, Procirep, Angoa-Agicoa, Developimage 2. (International sales: Films Boutique, Berlin.) Produced by Charlotte Vincent. Directed, written by Valerie Mrejen, Bertrand Schefer.

Crew

Camera (color, 16mm-to-35mm), Claire Mathon; editor, Thomas Marchand; music, Jean Claude Vannier; production designer, Aurore Casalis; costume designer, Sophie Lifshitz. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight), May 15, 2011. Running time: 73 MIN.

With

Lola Creton, Stanislas Merhar, Adele Haenel, Valerie Donzelli, Ferdinand Regent, Barthelemy Guillemard.

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