Simon (Kacey Mottet Klein) at 11 sells stolen stuff that people have left unattended at a Swiss ski resort. His older sister Louise (Lea Seydoux) runs fearsome risks looking for a man who might give them a better life.
We get no reliable information about their parents. They are social and economic bottom feeders in a world where the demarcation between holidaymakers and service providers is blurred until it comes down to the money wire.
The film sometimes wonders, while not stating with any clarity, whether Louise’s selfishness and laziness form her defence against exploitation. It doesn’t clearly define whether she uses sex as a weapon or merely as a lure. Not old enough to take on the responsibility for a younger sibling, she is as dependant on him for material support as he is on her for emotional comfort.
It’s not easy to work out Meier’s purpose for this film. Her observation of class distinctions is muted yet uncompromising. Of all its characters, Simon’s vulnerability most clamours for our understanding. Mottet Klein’s assured performance bespeaks an actor with a future.
Bottom line? Good-looking, credible, uncompromising, balancing concern for the vulnerable with admiration for the manner of its storytelling.
At Palace Electric