THE MAD WOMEN’S BALL (TIFF 2021) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Melanie Laurent creates a compelling world in which discarded women are blithely mistreated. She has also laid out a strong case for why women of the early 20th century, as in the time of The Snake Pit, as well as women today, struggle with being heard and believed by the mental health and medical communities. The Mad Women’s Ball is the kind of layered, femme-centric and very political story we need more of, and by fearless female filmmakers like Melanie Laurent.

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THE MAD WOMEN’S BALL (TIFF 2021) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Mélanie Laurent’s debut feature The Mad Women’s Ball announces the arrival of a filmmaker of enormous skill and talent. The film is adapted from Victoria Mas’s bestselling novel. Laurent both directs, co-stars in and co-wrote the film adaptation’s screenplay, resulting in a movie that, although being in French, will surely woo even the most subtitle-phobic English language viewer with its powerful story, sumptuous filmmaking style, solid performances and the inescapable contemporary edge to its core thematics.

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WHITE AS SNOW – Review by Leslie Combemale

Fairy tale archetypes are front and center in the surprisingly bland French film White as Snow, even with the presence of first lady of French film Isabelle Huppert and Lou de Laâge. Huppert plays the wicked queen to de Laâge’s fresh faced ingenue in a story meant to update and sex up the famed tale, presumably in the name of female empowerment. If only director and co-screenwriter Anne Fontaine didn’t vilify age and send the message that youth equals beauty and power in every scene of the film, the sexually adventurous choices her Snow White makes wouldn’t feel so shallow.

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