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1st October 2018

The Memories Of Youth

Marguerite, Béatrice Picard (“Ma tante Aline”, “Les Brilliant”) is an old lonely woman who regularly receives the visits of Rachel, Sandrine Bisson (“Plan B”, “1981”), her nurse. When she learns that Rachel has a girlfriend, Marguerite’s old repressed feelings of her youth for an old female friend start resurfacing.

The French Canadian short is a touching look into regrets, old desires and new beginnings: while Rachel is taking care of Marguerite’s body, washing her, putting lotion on her feet, checking her pulse for any irregularities, it is Marguerite’s heart and mind that are actually hurting, changing, healing.

The connection between the two women is clear from the very beginning: Rachel is very attentive and Marguerite is entirely comfortable with her, and as the story progresses, the moments of physical intimacy they share (like washing her hair or rubbing her feet) naturally turn into moments of emotional intimacy where both women open up to each another about very personal parts of their lives.

The beautiful cinematography by Marc Simpson-Threlford highlights the difference Rachel makes in Marguerite’s life in the most efficient way: as soon as she leaves, the light is much harsher, the colors turn sepia and Marguerite becomes the center of a frame she doesn’t share with anyone anymore, leaving her enveloped by emptiness; but when is here, everything looks natural, soft and filled with life.

With writer-director Marianne Farley (“Saccage”) being first and foremost an actress (it is only her second short film and the first one as a writer), it is no wonder that the film gives so much room to its two actresses who show incredible talent with very little dialogue.

This makes the film an introspective and very tender one that is especially interesting as it approaches LGBT themes through the eyes of an old woman rather than through younger characters, as it is most commonly seen.

Here, it is the older generation that is looking up to the younger one, connecting the two in an original and thoughtful manner.

An ageing woman and her nurse develop a friendship that inspires her to unearth unacknowledged longing and thus help her make peace with her past.

Marianne Farley

Marianne Farley

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