Isa, 20, owns nothing but the contents of her backpack and a generally cheerful, “grin and bear it” attitude to life. Bumming her way from town to town, living from hand to mouth, she washes up in Lille. Everywhere she goes, she adds a new block to the structure she is building, patiently and instinctively, out of her curiosity and generosity. In Lille she meets Marie, a girl from the north of France, aged 20 like her and a loner like her, but for different reasons. Marie is untamed, scalded, outraged by the role that life has ascribed to her.
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Zonca films bare-knuckled with a boxer’s tension, freedom and rigor, never once trying to demonstrate. Like Pialat in “Passe ton bac d’abord”, he lets himself be guided by the trembling of bodies, the debris of illusions, the dropped beats in looks and conversations. From an environment (Northern France) much overused in French cinema, the hackneyed context (social mincemeat) that goes with it and the play of stubborn opposites (night, day, the characters), the director extracts the harsh light of trajectories that collide. He captures the unraveling of these girls and their impossible dream of tying up with others. Lets his camera run. Dares to make a bridging sequence in mid-film and then, without warning, switches from Isa’s occasionally clownish energy (love that Madonna act!) to Marie’s mutinous rancor. And ends his film with as many lives. A long, long take of women factory workers’ faces which, in the image of his two angels, turn our hearts inside out. (Sophie Grassin in “L’Express” magazine, September 10, 1998)