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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Forteresses des corps

by G. P.

Film Review: Fortresses of the Body

Translated Friday 16 February 2007, by Rebecca Watson

Desire and the limitations of the flesh are the focus of Benoît Tételin’s first short film, Le Fil des Coups, France 2006, 17 minutes.

By framing the body as tightly as possible, scrutinising the grain and palpitations of the skin, and isolating voices, breath and sometimes the sound of the rain, Benoît Tételin studies the flesh and the solitude of the characters of his first short film, shot in the chill of black and white tinted with blue. During the titles and credits, x-rays in motion express a desire to pierce through the skin to liberate the skeleton and allow movement. The flesh is a bond that needs breaking, responsible for creating obstacles between people and masking their imperfections. Although present in the film, child abuse is not discussed. The rigour of the composition and camera movement suppresses any teary outpouring and avoids clichés.

The short follows a young woman working at the heart of a telephone helpline for battered children. The complexity of sex, the young woman’s own childhood, and her longing for a baby, as well as the gamble of believing in the calls that could well be hoaxes, are all outlined in several shots. Playing on the ambiguity of gestures, words and looks, this beautiful little film, presented at the Salon du Cinéma and at several international festivals, skilfully makes use of the format without losing the weight of its subject.

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