News from the Locarno Festival
 

Les Coquillettes by Sophie Letourneur

Les Coquillettes by Sophie Letourneur

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Last year a tiny crew shot a fiction film set at parties at the Lido, hotels and various other festival sites around town. The director Sophie Letourneur was also in Locarno to present her excellent short Le Marin masqué in the Corti d’autore section.

Sophie Letourneur loves challenges and the whole experience of shooting a film. She had previously set her mid-length film Roc et Canyon in a summer holiday camp. Using a film festival as a location, with its regular attendees and unchanging rituals, enabled the filmmaker to observe a self-enclosed community, a world of its own, highly conducive to sexual and romantic encounters - and disappointments.

Three friends looking for romance arrive in Locarno. Sophie has come to introduce her film, hoping to meet up again with Louis Garrel, with whom she had fallen in love in Paris. There are verbal gags, comic misunderstandings but mainly despondency, failures, bile and missed opportunities.

Right from the start of her filmmaking career, Sophie Letourneur has developed a highly idiosyncratic working method and style, recalling Jean Eustache in terms of an ambition to record the raw stuff of reality, drawing on her own life and that of her friends to forge a meticulous literary and cinematic approach.

With Les Coquillettes one is reminded more than ever of a female version of Jacques Rozier or early Pascal Thomas, but also the downbeat, boozy and existential comedies of the Korean director Hong Sangsoo, who set part of Like You Know it All (2009) at a film festival.

Olivier Père
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