After the emotional and dramatic films which it has screened over the past couple of weeks, the San Francisco Alliance Française presents something completely different this week – Les Gazelles, the latest film from French director and screenwriter Mona Achache, who also directed Le Hérisson (The Hedgehog).
Billed as a comedy-drama, Les Gazelles takes a look at the lives of a group of free-spirited, fun-loving young women, in or around their mid-30s, who seem – initially – to want nothing more from life than to live it to the full, and thoroughly enjoy themselves in the process. The inspiration for the film came from a successful one-woman show, Camille Attaque! by Camille Chamoux who co-wrote the screenplay with director Achache and with Cecile Sellam, and stars in the film herself.
Marie (played by Chamoux) is about to follow the conventional route to life – taking out a mortgage with Eric (Franck Gastambide), her partner of 14 years, to buy an apartment and settle down. She then meets a friend from high school (played by Marie Dompnier) who has traveled widely and lived with a photographer in LA for a while, and Marie realizes that her own life – same boyfriend, same boring job – is dull by comparison.
When she falls for the flattery of an attractive man, Marie decides to leave Eric, and ends up at a wild party given by Sandra, a single mother (Audrey Fleurot) who introduces Marie to her girlfriends – psychoanalyst Gwen (Anne Brochet), party girl Judith (Josephine de Meaux), and Myriam (Naidra Ayadi), who’s in a relationship with a much older man, but makes up for her mundane domestic life up by partying with her single friends.
Despite some setbacks, Marie starts to enjoy her new life, although she gets to the stage where she starts to wonder why none of her girlfriends is able to commit to anyone – or even wants to. Things start to become complicated, though, when Sandra – with whom Marie is living – meets a man who might just have the potential to become a longer term feature of her life.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Les Gazelles is “An ode to womanhood and freedom as well as people’s need for connection, friendship and sex ….. a joyous but generally also quite realistic next-generation girl-power statement”.
A Recifilms, Orange Studio, Cinefrance 1888 and France 2 Cinema production, Les Gazelles has a score by Eric Neveux.
This screening, presented by a community partner of the Alliance Française, European Studies Abroad, is in French with English subtitles. The Alliance Française is at 1345 Bush Street, and the film starts at 7.00 pm. Admission is free, but a donation of $5 is suggested.