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PAULINE AND PAULETTE

Belgium / France / Netherlands, 2001 (MIFF 2002, International Panorama)

Director: Lieven Debrauwer

Screening at London, Pusan and Toronto as well as taking the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury (Special Mention) at Cannes, Pauline and Paulette has warmed hearts globally with its loveable characters. A family drama concerning the ties between four sisters, with all their flaws on show, the film reveals how family relationships have the power to transform us.

At 66, Pauline is unable to read, write or tie her shoe laces. She lives with the impossibly solemn Martha in a cottage in a Flemish town, watering her garden and collecting pictures of flowers. She idolises her sister Paulette, a shopkeeper and amateur opera singer. Everything changes with Martha's sudden death. When the will is read, it reveals that Martha has bequeathed her estate to her three sisters, but Cécile and Paulette will only get their due if one agrees to care for Pauline.

"Too sensible to believe in unequivocally happy endings. Rather than assaulting you with self-congratulatory tears, it leaves you with a bittersweet glow of wisdom and an appreciation of the small triumphs and difficult labors of love." - New York Times

Lieven Debrauwer (born Roeslare, Belgium, 1969) studied photography in Ghent and cinema in Brussels, and commenced a well-regarded series of short films, culminating in the winning of the Jury Prize at Cannes in 1997 for Leonie. He founded the production company Gateway Films in 1996. Pauline and Paulette is his first feature-length film.

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