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France, 1998 (MIFF 1999, International Panorama)

Director: Sandrine Veysset

Ten year old Victor chooses a freezing winter evening to run away from home. Exhausted, afraid, his flight takes him to a fairground, the only bright and welcoming sight in the darkness. Moments before he faints, Victor sees Mick, a young man on a merry-go-round. When he wakes he finds himself at the home of Triche, a strange young woman who Victor cannot fathom; he knows only that she sleeps all day and works throughout the night.

Despite the fact that the arrival of a child on her doorstep is totally unexpected and not a small inconve­nience, Triche agrees to let Victor stay on. Victor, with his miserable past, blossoms in Triche's care; in his eyes the woman, who he doesn't realise is a prostitute, is a fairy godmother. Both of them simply required exposure to the healing power of love.

Sandrine Veysset came to inlernalional promi­nence with her remarkable feature debut, Will it Snow for Christmas"?(1997). A film of transcendent effect it depicted a rural French family, a young mother and her seven illegitimate children, struggling to eke an exis­tence from a small, run-down farm. Victor too opts for gritty realism, bringing Ihe same superior level of cine­matography to the project though embracing a more poetic visual character.

Ironically Victor, a boy fleeing the oppressive sex­ual fantasies of his parents, finds himself in the care of a prostitute. The irony of the situation is compounded during sublime moments of the film when the boy, trudging through snow, succumbs to his own day­dreams. A tremendous film by a director of prodigious talent and future potential.

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