Charly

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Charly
Isilde Le Besco, 2007
France | 95 minutes

“Topsy-turvy dynamics are at work in Le Besco’s second film, Charly, an oddball coming-of-age story about a sullen, semi-literate 14-year-old (played by Demi-tarif’s Kolia Litscher, in real life Le Besco’s brother) who runs away from the farm where he lives with his grandparents and eventually shacks up for a few days with the charismatic, slightly OCD title character (the excellent Julie-Marie Parmentier), who, though it’s never directly stated, makes her living as a prostitute. Together, the duo pantomime a kind of marriage (with him staying at home doing the chores while she brings home the bacon) and, in the film’s unexpected centerpiece, act out an impromptu scene from Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening, which the boy is reading on the suggestion of a teacher. Which is precisely the sort of scene Le Besco deploys effortlessly, without our ever questioning its plausibility.”

—Scott Foundas, Film Comment January/February 2011

Series: Film Comment Selects

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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