Between Two Worlds

****

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Between Two Worlds
"Binoche gives her all, stripping away any vestiges of actressy pretence to assimilate herself in the community while at the same time investing her performance with an authentic conviction." | Photo: Courtesy of Director's Fortnight

Emmanuel Carrère wasn’t an obvious choice to direct journalist Florence Aubenas’s book about going under cover in the French port city of Caen to explore the non-contract world of the cleaning women who work on the ferries between Ouistreham and Portsmouth.

The director had made two previous films: one was documentary Back To Kotelnigh and the other was The Moustache, with Vincent Lindon, based on his own novel. Aubenas, however, wanted Carrère and no one else and Juliette Binoche declared herself ready for the challenge of getting down and dirty.

The result is a fascinating study of how Binoche manages to follow in Aubenas’s footsteps by gaining the confidence of her co-workers who become the non-professional cast.

Renamed Marianne Winkler in the script, her cover is blown early on when her background is revealed by one of the officials at the local employment agency. She has to justify herself - and in so doing strikes up a close friendship with a single mother of three children (Christèle played by Hélène Lambert) who becomes the focus of “her” book whereas Aubenas produced a group portrait.

As a result the “invisibles” become highly visible and Carrère’s film takes the exposure of their plight to a new level.

Binoche gives her all, stripping away any vestiges of actressy pretence to assimilate herself in the community while at the same time investing her performance with an authentic conviction.

Some may argue that, as with Aubenas, Binoche’s role is parasitical one and that once complete she will head back to her glamorous life as one of France’s A-list stars without a second thought. Yet the power of her performance confounds such expectations and deserves the benefit of any doubts.

Between Two Worlds is on release in cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema.

Reviewed on: 02 Jun 2022
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Between Two Worlds packshot
Marianne Winckler, a well-known author, goes to live in northern France to research for her new book on the subject of job insecurity. Without revealing her true identity, she gets hired as a cleaner, working with a group of other women.

Director: Emmanuel Carrère

Writer: Florence Aubenas, Emmanuel Carrère, Hélène Devynck

Starring: Juliette Binoche

Year: 2021

Runtime: 107 minutes

Country: France

Streaming on: Curzon Home Cinema


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