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MOVIES (GFF 2022): The Braves - Review

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It’s rare to watch a movie as eye-catchingly brilliant and breathtakingly honest as The Braves, a film that provides a look into the look at the relationship between best friends Alma and Margot, an inseparable, ride-or-die pair of aspiring actors, who will take each other’s sides no matter what – terrorizing cheating lovers or crashing wedding parties, even staging fights to make sure that their acting auditions are more memorable. It’s a mix of personalities that Déborah Lukumuena and Souheila Yacoub bring to the table that give this movie the energy that they need – spot on in its portrayal of the nightlife of Paris and the culture of the city that was so brilliantly captured in 2015’s The Divines, a movie that The Braves feels comparable to – a different subject matter to say, 2014’s Girlhood from Celine Sciamma but treading similar narrative beats, or better yet - Sarah Gavron's Rocks.

Cinematographer Sean Price Williams – a Safdie Brothers regular, crafts a fascinating look at Paris that resembles the New York of Good Time, gritty, real and honest – a world removed from the standard tourist-bait exposition shots that most movies tend to do – and director Anaïs Volpé leaves a memorable impression in what is her first feature film. A clear voice is crafted from the start – full of personality and gutso – that makes it instantly eye-catching and capable of standing out from the crowd.

It's a movie that will plug at the heartstrings and hit all the right emotional beats that a movie like this needs to make it work – if it doesn’t get the friendship just right it collapses fully around it, but luckily, Volpé – through her talented leads, is able to pull off a movie that will have you cheering for its characters through whatever situation that they go through, whatever rollercoaster emotional ride they undertake – you’ll experience their hopes, their dreams, their ups and downs with them. For once, a friendship isn’t broken up by a romantic side story – and in short, we really need more movies where the friendship is as strong and as committed as this.

The play within the film that both characters manage to succesfully audition for is The Shore, about a young pregnant girl who arrives in New York for the first time, allows Volpé to give space to New York within the world of Paris and Williams manages to craft a look of both cities like a dream come true, Paris feels real and honest – refreshingly everyday, whilst New York resembles that of a John Cassavetes movie. It’s a real clash between hopes and dreams that establish Volpé’s ambition before our eyes – fearlessly bold and comitted to every frame. It feels vibrant and alive, and in a hectic film festival – The Braves is an instant standout.

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