La Prunelle de mes yeux
It might be because of the rebetiko, which serves as a playful soundtrack, but Axelle Ropert’s latest film has a certain dissident air that balances well with her taste for comedy and the usual complicit gaze she directs towards her characters.
The story is set in Paris, and once again Ropert locates it away from the ordinary areas of interest, here identifying an unusual Greek community. If the spirit of rebetiko, dancehall songs popular during the revolutionary era, remains little more than a light thread woven through the film, the presence of music is nonetheless central thanks to the character played by Mélanie Bernier, a blind tuner. She is the luminous centre of this film, with her open, trusting smile and her eyes wide as though looking beyond the horizon of things. With a Cukor-style misunderstanding, when she first meets the young Théo (Bastien Bouillon), he, not realizing that she is blind, instead pretends that he is.
Handicaps and marginality are the subject of La Prunelles de mes yeux, serving as a way to recount the difficulty of a generation struggling to find its own place. Axelle Ropert’s greatest quality is the ability to construct dialogue that gives the right weight to words even when they arrive inopportunely. Riding the wave of words that ring like flirtatious skirmishes, the characters of this film, which hides a dark depth under an air of comedy, live a kind of existential exile. That’s how it is for the two Greek brothers, one who thinks he is a misunderstood musician and can’t sing and the other who has a musical gift but doesn’t use it so as not to offend his brother. And that’s just one example of the delicately woven web that connects all of the characters, even when they are fighting amongst each other, and which represents a beautiful image for a pluralistic community.Carlo Chatrian