FRANCE- by Liz Whittemore

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Creating a buzz in any industry takes savvy, creativity, a sense of humor, and a willingness to do anything. In France, Léa Seydoux plays the titular role, a broadcast journalist and star whose personal life is just as provocative as her stories. With power, money, and fame come great sacrifice and a little bit of fabrication.

The script is sharp, engaging the audience initially in outrageous wit as it subtly shifts into pensive melancholy. Writer-Director Bruno Dumont fuses the tension between politics and journalism while exposing emotional manipulation in media editing. That’s merely half the plot.

Comic relief comes in actress Blanch Gardin who plays France’s producer and friend. As Lou, she massages France’s ego, makes her laugh, and provides an undying loyalty. Léa Seydoux plays France as a woman having a moral epiphany. Her perfect public persona begins to crumble after she is the cause of an accident. It’s a battle between ambition and morality, fame and self-actualization. Seydoux is captivating as she navigates the unraveling of France’s life. The nuance is breathtaking.

France’s wardrobe is exquisite, each piece tailored to perfection. Cinematographer David Chambille makes it a point to shoot Seydoux in long lingering close-ups, engulfing the audience in her thoughts. The finale shot says so much. The film raises the bar throughout its two-plus-hour run. The audience is put through the wringer, as your feelings towards France shapeshift. France is an exploration of perception and the cost of fame.

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Liz Whittemore

Liz Whittemore is the author of AWFJ's I SCREAM YOU SCREAM blog. She is Co-Managing Editor and writes for, hosts the podcast Girls On Film and is a contributing writer for and The ArtsWireWeekly. Now New York-based, she was born and raised in northern Connecticut. She's a graduate of The American Musical & Dramatic Academy, and has performed at Disneyland and famed Hartford Children's Theater, and been a member of NYC's Boomerang Theater, Connecticut's Simsbury Summer Theater, Virginia's Offstage Theatre, where she also directed. Her film credits include Suburban Skies and Surrender. In 2008, she shot Jabberwocky, a documentary now in post-production. Liz is still a children's theatre director and choreographer. She's working on an updated adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and a series of children's books.