×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Frankie

A top model has a meltdown in "Frankie," the feature debut of French actress-turned-helmer Fabienne Berthaud. Ultra-low-budget digitally shot pic believably renders the bitchy, vacuous world of fashion, as well the institutional atmosphere of insane asylums, but has little of consequence to say about either milieu.

With:
With: Diane Kruger, Jeanick Gravelines, Brigitte Catillon, Christian Wiggert, J. Alexander, Gerald Marie, Jean Louis Place. (French, English, German, Russian dialogue)

A top model has a meltdown in “Frankie,” the feature debut of French actress-turned-helmer Fabienne Berthaud. Ultra-low-budget digitally shot pic believably renders the bitchy, vacuous world of fashion, as well the institutional atmosphere of insane asylums (especially since it was shot in a real one), but has little of consequence to say about either milieu. Helen of “Troy” Diane Kruger turns in a respectable perf in the title role, but is saddled with a bland character who doesn’t elicit much sympathy. Kruger’s name isn’t quite well-known enough to give this so-so looking pic much push into distribution beyond fests.

Frankie (Kruger) is ensconced in a near-catatonic state in a suburban snake pit in Blois, France. Real-life mental patients, babbling nonsensically, play themselves as her fellow inmates. After visit from her fashion-agency boss (Gerald Marie) and the maternal landlady (Brigitte Catillon) of a model’s residence Frankie used to doss at, asynchronous flashbacks reveal how this once-top-paid mannequin lost her marbles.

In her late 20s, German-born, Paris-based Frankie neared the end of her sell-by date. She was no longer as thin as her upcoming rivals, and her skin was ravaged by constant traveling and the gypsy lifestyle a modeling career demands. The camera watches as her nerves start to fray at fashion shoots, particularly one with a demanding, autocratic photographer named Christian (Christian Wiggert).

Frankie’s friendship with the agency’s lanky driver Tom (Jeanick Gravelines) helps, but her breaking point seems to come after an audition with a camp American casting director (J. Alexander) during which Frankie, stick thin by most standards, can’t fit into the required dress.

The improvised-sounding dialogue has a credibly banal, fashion-talk ring to it, but the film explains less about this world than any of the many reality TV programs on the subject. Berthaud tries to amp up arty effects with long, static takes of light-filled rooms, but a so-what feeling sets in by end. Pretty, folk tunes by musical combo CocoRosie add diversion.

Frankie

France

Production: A 7e Apache Film, Fabienne Berthaud presentation, in co-production with Quasar Pictures. (International sales; MK2, Paris.) Produced by Bruno Petit, Fabienne Berthaud. Directed, written by Fabienne Berthaud.

Crew: Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Berthaud, Maud Camille; editor, Raphaele Urtin; music, CocoRosie ; sound, Gerraud Rombelles, Camille. Reviewed on DVD at Locarno Film Festival (Filmmakers of the Present), Aug. 6, 2005. (Also in Edinburgh Film Festival.) Running time: 88 MIN.

With: With: Diane Kruger, Jeanick Gravelines, Brigitte Catillon, Christian Wiggert, J. Alexander, Gerald Marie, Jean Louis Place. (French, English, German, Russian dialogue)

More Film

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's 'Jiu Jitsu' Obtains Cyprus Support

    In today’s film news roundup, Cyprus is backing Nicolas Cage’s “Jiu Jitsu”; “The Nanny” and “Amityville 1974” are moving forward; “Milk” is returning to theaters; and Garrett Hedlund’s “Burden” is getting distribution. CYPRUS REBATE Nicolas Cage’s “Jiu Jitsu” has become the first international film to use Cyprus’ new tax credit-rebate program by filming entirely in [...]

  • Zhao Tao

    Zhao Tao Gets Candid in Kering's Shanghai Women in Motion Showcase Interview

    Zhao Tao is one of the most recognizable faces in Chinese art cinema thanks to her longtime collaboration with director Jia Zhangke, whom she married in 2012. From 2000’s “Platform” to last year’s “Ash is Purest White,” her work has plumbed the moral depths of modern China and brought stories of the country’s drastic change [...]

  • Skyline on the Huangpu River with

    Chinese-American Film Festival Seeks Particular Dialog

    With U.S.-China ties at an ever-sinking low, the Chinese-American Film and TV Festival on Tuesday pledged to improve communications between the two countries —  at a Chinese language-only press conference Tuesday that had few foreigners present. Most attendees who took to the stage to give congratulatory speeches that seemed more intent on heaping praise upon [...]

  • Murder Mystery

    Netflix Reveals Record-Breaking Stats for Sandler-Aniston 'Murder Mystery' Flick

    “Murder Mystery,” the latest Adam Sandler film to debut on Netflix, broke viewing records on the streaming service, the company revealed Tuesday. The film, which is co-headlined by Jennifer Aniston, was seen by close to 30.9 million households in its first 3 days, according to a tweet sent out Tuesday afternoon. 🚨ADAM SANDLER AND JENNIFER [...]

  • Agents Accuse Writers Guild of Refusing

    Writers Guild 'Plans to Respond' to Agents' Proposal as Frustration Mounts

    In a sign of increasing frustration, Hollywood agents have accused the Writers Guild of America of foot-dragging in the bitter two-month dispute. “It has become clear as more days pass that the Guild is not interested in making a deal,” said the negotiating committee for the agents in statement issued Tuesday. “Over the past year, [...]

  • Jermaine Fowler arrives at the 69th

    Jermaine Fowler to Co-Star With Eddie Murphy in 'Coming 2 America' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Jermaine Fowler is set to play one of the leads opposite Eddie Murphy in Paramount’s sequel “Coming 2 America,” sources tell Variety. “Hustle & Flow” helmer Craig Brewer is on board to direct the pic with the studio planning an August 7, 2020 release. Plot details of “Coming 2 America” are unknown, as are the [...]

  • Henry Golding attends the Fragrance Foundation

    Henry Golding Starts Long House Shingle With 'Inheritance,' 'Harrington's Greatest Hits'

    “Crazy Rich Asians” star Henry Golding has started Long House Productions in partnership with China’s Starlight Cultural Entertainment Group with two features in the works. Golding’s first feature under the Long House banner is action adventure “The Inheritance,” based on an original story idea by Alistair Hudson and Golding. Hudson is writing the script for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content