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"Proxima" - Film Review

by Emilia Ippolito 
 
Cinemas are finally open again in England : it was high time, and personally I cannot see how sitting for a couple of hours maximum in a large, clean screen could ever be riskier than sitting on a plane.
 
Anyway, digressions aside, big screens, Dolby sound and the whole cinematic experience have definitely been missed!
 
One of the few brand new films currently screening - among a number of masterclass ‘oldies’ - is Proxima.
 
An indie Franco-German production starring one of the most stunning Bond girls (Casino Royale), Eva Green (French engineer and astronaut Sarah Loreau) supported by the ‘long time no see ‘ Matt Dillon (American astronaut Mike Shannon) and the promising Zelie Boulant Lemesle (Stella, Sarah’s young daughter), the movie is directed by Parisian director and screenwriter Alice Wincour, who co-wrote Mustang, awarded with a Cesar for best original script in 2015.
 
This low budget film focuses on a woman astronaut’s (Sarah) tough training and pre-launch time - approximately one month. Sarah replaces a much more experienced man colleague who cannot participate in the mission. She’s left with one month of consistent, hard training, next to two male colleagues, and with difficult and psychologically just as tough decisions to make, whilst arranging her daughter Stella’s stay with her estranged father - a German colleague from whom she separated. Stella reluctantly accepts to spend one year in Germany, at a brand new German school where she struggles to start with, and would obviously rather stay with her mother in Switzerland.
 
We follow a no-nonsense time for the three members of a modern family. Sarah follows both training and her heart : again, adopting a very necessary rational approach all the way through. No sentimentalism is allowed: script, performances and direction religiously follow this golden rule.
 
We see Sarah successfully depart at ignition time, carrying along human worries, a sense of permanent alert and motherly feelings and regrets, and that’s where the story leaves us.
 
It’s an interesting approach to the wider topic of social equality and its hazards in real life. It’s all very well to say that men and women should be equal; as a matter of fact however, female bodies find certain types of training and consequently professions simply harder : it’s biology, not sexism. Equally, women should not turn into men either for the sake of their career or equality. Sarah for example choses to keep her longer hair and menstrual cycle all the way through the mission: bravo Sarah! As a woman, I couldn’t but applaud this sensitive, clever touch in script, performance and director’s touch.
Enjoy very good performance, good script and direction, but expect neither action nor redundant touchy-feely aspects

 

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About Emilia Ippolito

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