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The price of love

Concorso Internazionale - Douze Mille

The price of love

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When Frank loses his livelihood scamming customers from a local junkyard, he and his partner Maroussia quickly realize the only way for a couple to survive and maintain its fierce sexual bond is for him to leave in search of a job that will allow him to make as much money as she does: 12,000 euros a year, and not a penny more or less. With that ice-cold pact formed in the heat of passion, writer-director Nadège Trebal sets forth the program of her exhilarating, sharply political first fiction feature: an analysis of the relationship between sexuality and economics, exploitation and freedom. And if that sounds like homework to you, it’s because you haven’t seen the first ten minutes of Douze Mille, in which Trebal establishes her position as a major new talent by creating one of the most credible, intense sexual connections in recent film history without showing an inch of skin. Grounded in the sensual reality of bodies and the hard truth of money, Douze Mille then goes further than one could ever hope to imagine, developing a kind of mythology for container yards and industrial landscapes populated by hustling Amazons and dancing factory workers, a reflection of a world of transience and transaction in which love is constantly at risk of being corrupted. Delivering a searing performance as Maroussia opposite impishly charming Arieh Worthalter in the role of Frank, Trebal is quite simply the fearless filmmaker we’ve been waiting for to bring the justified anger of French social dramas to a new height of formally inventive, cinematic and erotic glory.

Nicholas Elliott

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