Catherine Corsini’s The Divide is very French. It has most of the archetypes whom people who follow the news expect. It has two bourgeois artsy lesbians, Raf and Julie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Marina Fois). They share an ER wing as a yellow vest protester, Yann Caron (Pio Marmai). And de facto running that wing is an overworked African nurse, Kim (Aïssatou Diallo Sagna). These four characters aren’t always sharing the same space, as Julie and Kim are running around doing other things. This leaves Raf and Yann to have political debates while letting their injuries worsen in a healthcare system. One that seems to be on the brink of collapse faster than North America. Witnessing debates in films are as insufferable as the experience of doing so online and in real life. And yet, this film manages to make its generally chaotic and politicized environs seem palatable.
As we viewers spend more time in this fictional hospital, The Divide makes us accustomed to its occasionally frenetic beats. This is obviously Raf’s film, but there are moments when Julie and Kim shine. Admittedly, I wish for a version of this film with Kim as its central character. But we are in a queer film festival. So it’s equally interesting to have a bourgeois lesbian as a central character in an ensemble film. Most of the recent, better entries in that canon still treat us as history. However, this film feels current and it shows queer people as intersectional and shows problems of that intersectionality. Even if two of the lead characters are queer, both are enough to show a spectrum of personalities. It does occassionally slide into ‘both sides’ territory, but it steers itself back into showing more complex political thought.
The Divide premiered on Inside Out on June 1.
- Release Date: 6/1/2022