// Presented as part of Filmatique's C'est Cannes! Series //
Spotlight on Party Girl
Marie Amachoukeli-Barsacq, Claire Burger & Samuel Theis / France, 2014 / Cannes, Bratislava, Cabourg, Gijón, Guanajuato, Hamburg, Odessa, Paris, Queer Lisboa, Saas Fee / 96'
Angélique lives in Lorraine, on the border between France and Germany. Though nearing 60, her life is mostly lived by night, tending bar at a strip club and reassuring the lost and nervous men who frequent it. Though she often flirts with men to buy her drinks, Angélique understands she has a serious admirer when retired coal-miner Michel asks for her hand in marriage. Yet when preparations for the ceremony involve reaching out to her four children, and facing the lingering effects of her freewheeling past, Angélique questions the viability of her new life.
Examining a working-class European town through the eyes of a woman unsure she can change her ways, Party Girl was directed by Angélique's real-life son Samuel Theis and female French filmmakers Marie Amachoukeli-Barsacq and Claire Burger. Their textured, verité debut premiered as the opening film of Cannes' Un Certain Regard competition, where it won the Camera d'Or for Best First Film and the Un Certain Regard Ensemble prize; Bratislava, where it won the Grand Prix and Best Actress; Cabourg, where it won the Grand Prix; Guanajuato, where it won Best First Film; Paris, where it won the Audience Award; Saas Fee, where it won Best Film; and Gijón, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize.
"The title may suggest a cute indie comedy about the angsty pitfalls of young womanhood, the sort that might feature Greta Gerwig or Lena Dunham, but the subject of Party Girl has many more years, and heartaches, under her not-so-chic belt... The film's working-class milieu recalls the likes of France's Robert Guediguian and Belgium's Dardenne brothers, although the sociopolitical context remains mostly in the background, and the filmmakers shy away from tugging heartstrings"
- Charles Gant, Cannes Review, Variety