By Zachary Sheridan
Directed by Blandine Lenoir
Starring Agnès Jaoui as the title character, Aurore is a truly delightful film. Its infused with an infectious celebratory quality that left me smiling wide at several points throughout Aurore’s journey. After quitting her job due to her megalomaniac, sexist boss, Aurore – a single mum – has her world shifted when one daughter becomes pregnant, the other leaves home, all the while Aurore herself is going through menopause. However, Aurore is not helpless. In the face of a society that tries to push Aurore to the peripheries, Aurore is strong and filled with courage.
Aurore’s bond with her best friend, Mano (Pascale Arbillot), and her daughters, Marina and Lucie (Sarah Suco and Lou Roy-Lecollinet) is palpable. Their unity and friendship is their stronghold in overcoming oppressive systems. And the film isn’t overt with these themes either – a discussion about intersectionality is woven into the movie in a way that matches its seamless flashbacks to when Aurore’s kids were little, when they’d dance to Nina Simone in moments that at the time might’ve lasted forever.
By chance, Aurore meets her high school boyfriend Totoche (Thibault de Montalembert). It’s at a dinner between the pair where this film finds another level. In a dialogue-less scene, their faces tell the audience all they need to know, as the singing-waiters carol some classic opera (I think, from memory, it’s Léo Delibes’ “Lakmé” – it’s really beautiful).
Aurore examines gender constructs and reframes the viewer’s gaze. We see a naked female body on the screen and it isn’t sexualised. The way the film handles such instances, as well as its comfortable pace, are welcome and real qualities in a story for a world currently hell-bent on speeding up. Funny and charming, with empathetic themes of acceptance, Aurore is a wonderful evening at Perth Festival’s screens.
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