Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Life in Pink

Ma vie en rose; drama, France/ Belgium, 1997; D: Alain Berliner, S: Georges Du Fresne, Michèle Laroque, Jean-Philippe Écoffey, Hélène Vincent

Hanna and her husband Pierre move to a quiet suburb where their first neighbors are Pierre's boss and his family. Hanna has three sons and a daughter. During a welcoming party, the guests are disturbed when Hanna's youngest son Ludovic shows up in a pink dress. Ludovic even starts saying that he considers himself a girl and shows interest for "female shows", which is why only his grandmother has understanding for him. When Ludovic has a fake wedding with the son of Pierre's boss, the parents send him to a psychiatrist. He starts feeling shame whereas the school kids make him an outcast. The family moves to a new town. At first they are angry at him, but gradually accept him.

Winner of the Golden Globe for the best foreign language film, Alain Berliner's feature length debut film "My Life in Pink" is a gentle essay about the different views between kids and grown ups: even though the plot revolves around a boy, Ludovic, who considers himself a girl, this is not entirely a movie with a gay-transgender theme, but also (and maybe even to a larger extent) a story about the search for one's identity and freedom, despite intolerance. The best scenes are those done with measure, taste and even little humor, such as the one where Ludovic secretly takes the place of the sleeping Snow White during a school play, thus forcing the boy he likes and who plays the prince to kiss him or the imaginative-surreal scene where the TV character Pam exists the TV set and flies away. As a whole, the movie is indeed slightly uneven - maybe it was not the best decision choose a little kid for such a delicate story, but a grown up - sometimes heavy handed and stylistically unsure, yet Berliner truly seems to love his story and crafts strong characters, some of which establish an intact character development thanks to only one scene, such as when Ludovic's mother takes revenge on the racist boss by simply kissing him in front of his wife, thus causing a thorough marital feud.


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