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MARTHA... MARTHA

France, 2000 (MIFF 2001, International Panorama)

Director: Sandrine Veysset

"A depiction of French family life from director Sandrine Veyssett (Will it Snow For Christmas MIFF 1997). Martha is an unstable young woman given to fits of depression. She is clearly not the ideal mother for six-year-old Use, who may or may not be the daughter of her loyal, long suffering partner, Reymond who makes a precarious income selling secondhand clothes.

Martha smokes and drinks too much and often leaves Reymond and Use at night to drink and flirt with men. She is haunted by an unspecified tragedy from her past, possibty involving the death of her brother. In the opening sequence, she pays a visit to her parents and gets a chilly reception, her careworn mother mistaking her for her sister Marie, who is married and living in Spain. Marthas parents don't even know she has a child. When on a whim, Martha drags her family to visit Marie, it's an uneasy stay. She leaves for France and disappears after being raped by a couple of men who picked her up at a bar. Martha's disturbed nature is contrasted with the steady strength of Reymond, who is patient with her but clearly worried she'll do something terrible to herself or Use."—David Stratton, Variety. Screened in Director's Fortnight Cannes 2001.

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