Cinefranco 2020: Our Review of ‘Vacarme’

Cinefranco 2020: Our Review of ‘Vacarme’

Vacarme shows the familiar coming of age stories that viewers have already seen in recent French language films. But let’s give the film the individual focus it deserves by writing about its specifics. Rosalie Pepin plays Emilie, a 13 year old who has her share of misfortunes. Her mother Karine (Sophie Desmarais) kicked her out of their house, making her only option a group home. She still believes that Karine will take her back. And her way of making that happen is tracking down one of Karine’s old boyfriends, Renaud (Rudi Loup Duperre). She and Renaud eventually bond through guitar lessons.

The characters here are ambiguous, bordering on unsympathetic, and the latter is easier to deal with than the former. The most contentious relationship here happens to be the central one between Emilie and Renaud. That probably comes from the contemporary discomfort of seeing children with adults. And I get it, ambiguity is good sometimes, but not at the cost of viewer anxiety. I was browsing through other coming of age films where a child bonds with non-relative. And most of those films answer that question directly. In doing so, they can move on to other things and solve conflicts.

Otherwise, there’s something compelling and watchable about these characters, as ambiguous as they may be. The film also uses Emilie as a window through contemporary Montreal. Through Karine and Renaud she experiences the city’s arts and music scene. A scene full of characters dealing with its token child. The group home is interesting in itself. The same goes for her fellow teens who get her into the hip hop scene and parties that probably shouldn’t have a thirteen year old guest. Growing up is frustrating but Vacarme shows that a girl’s search for herself and for good and supportive people.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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