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‘The Balconettes’ Review: A Very Bloody, Somewhat Didactic, Game – Cannes Film Festival

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Ghost story, body horror, feminist comedy and a freshly minted edition of that very French subgenre, How to Get Rid of a Troublesome Corpse: Noémie Merlant, familiar as a fine actress from Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, packs a good deal into her sophomore feature as director, The Balconettes.

The message is essentially Time’s Up, maxxed out to include revenge killings; the medium is Mediterranean color. Sciamma co-wrote the script with Merlant, which may come as a surprise given that this swirl of blood and wackiness, complete with a running gag about a severed penis, is about as far from the restraint of Sciamma’s own films as could be.

We start with a weather report. It’s 46 degrees Celsius n Marseille, which is 115 degrees Fahrenheit: too damn hot. The camera hovers over the laundry-heavy balconies of a down-at-heel apartment block, which suggests we’re about to learn a lot about what goes on behind their railings.

Someone is playing saxophone. There’s a kid walking on his hands. And here’s a flustered, frumpy thirty-something, peeping over her laptop at the shirtless guy in the apartment across the courtyard.

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