Director Céline Sciamma and actress Adèle Haenel

By Yuki Keiser March 2008

Water Lilies

1. A sweet debut at 27

Profile: Céline Sciamma

Born in France in 1980. After earning both her master's and a doctorate degree in French literature, Sciamma attended screenwriting courses at France's prestigious La Femis film school. Her debut film, "Water Lilies" was chosen for screening at the Cannes Film Festival in its 'Un Certain Regard' section and has already won its young director great international attention.

●Shown at Shibuya Q-AX Cinema from June 28
●Featuring: Pauline Acquart, Adèle Haenel, Louise Blachère
●2007, France
●Distribution: Twin
●Promotion: Synergy Relations 
©Les Productions Balthazar 2007

"Water Lilies" Official Site (Japan)
"Water Lilies" Official Site (UK)

Water Lilies
※The opening scene from "Water Lilies"

Officially screened at the 2007 Cannes' Un Certain Regard section, "Water Lilies" is the sweet debut film from a new - and incredibly promising - 27 years-young director.

The film centers on Marie, still resembling a child at 15, and her senior, Floriane, who is already developing attractively into an adult. Then there is the slightly pudgy and ungainly Anne. The story tells of a slightly cruel summer that unfolds in a new suburb on the outskirts of Paris. Emotions intersect as teenagers come face-to-face with same-sex love, pre-adulthood precarity, and the first pangs of jealousy and desire. Set in the competitive world of synchronized swimming, the young and out director, Céline Sciamma, paints a tale of strong adolescent feeling, isolation, and insecurity.

Sciamma is a graduate of the French film school La Femis, and the screenplay for "Water Lilies" was, in fact, her graduation project. After it won Junior Best Screenplay Award 2006 at a Concours under the support of France 3, numerous instructors stepped forth to strongly recommend to Sciamma that she turn the script into a movie. Despite the fact that the young writer had no directing experience whatsoever, she has delivered a perfectly crystal piece of work.

Finished with a sheen so rich, no one would ever guess that this film was the director's debut work.
It has a universal resonance as it depicts with heart-breaking reality the tribulations of adolescence and the moments that a girl becomes a woman. The visual images draw the viewer in, as the pained and wanton emotions of the young girls are portrayed with both exquisitely-telling detail and wise intelligence; the film is only further enriched by the warm light it casts over the unruly goings-on. With two of its budding stars nominated for the French Cesar - on par with the American Academy Award - for Most Promising Actress, this TW-recommended movie brilliantly showcases young talent and projects us all - straight or gay - onto the screen.

Tokyo Wrestling interviewed director and screenwriter Céline Sciamma along with actress Adèle Haenel during their visit to Japan in March for the 2008 French Film Festival headed by the iconic French actress - Sophie Marceau.

Water Lilies Céline Sciamma
※Céline Sciamma, director of "Water Lilies"

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translated by rayna rusenko