Film Review : Tomboy

When ten year old boyish looking Laure moves to a suburb east of Paris, she feels lonely as she does not know anyone of her age, among the children playing in the sun outside. Till one day, she meets the cute neighbourhood girl Lisa, who is of the same age. Somehow Lisa mistakes Laure to be a boy and when Lisa asks ‘his’ name, Laure says “Michael”!

Tomboy

Dir.: Céline Sciamma (France / 2011 / Col. / 81′)

When ten year old boyish looking Laure moves to a suburb east of Paris, she feels lonely as she does not know anyone of her age, among the children playing in the sun outside. Till one day, she meets the cute neighbourhood girl Lisa, who is of the same age. Somehow Lisa mistakes Laure to be a boy and when Lisa asks ‘his’ name, Laure says “Michael”!

From then on Laure pretends to be a boy with all the neighbourhood kids with whom she immediately finds a rapport after this ‘transformation’. But it brings its own set of boy-problems that is humourous and innocent – like how to piss or make a crotch in a Speedo! One particularly funny scene is when Lisa puts on make-up on Laure and exclaims “You look great as a girl”!

But things complicated when Laure’s relationship with Lisa becomes very close and ambiguity of her gender identity becomes complicated. She is left with a dilemma – Truth or dare?

Filmmaker Céline Sciamma, director of the earlier festival hit ‘Water Lilies’, manages to extract very natural and believable performances from her young actors with tight close-ups and constantly moving camera.

Winner of this year’s Teddy Jury Award for best queer film at Berlin International Film festival, the film is quite challenging for those who think boys will be boys and girls will be girls… because in reality they may really not be so!

 

Thursday Oct 20th 12.45 pm at Screen 4 Cinemax Versova

This film screens under MAMI’s 4th Rendezvous with French Cinema programme

About the guest author

Sridhar Rangayan