Among the loud, special-effects-driven and familiar storylines of the blockbusters being released mid-year, comes the unassuming and utterly charming little French film Rosalie Blum.
A balance of drama, comedy and romance - with a dash of mystery - screenwriter Julien Rappeneau's directorial debut is wonderfully cast, directed with a deft hand, and features a script full of surprises.
Based on the graphic novel trilogy by French artist Camille Jourdy, Rosalie Blum tells the story of three people living in a typically picturesque French town who are stuck in ruts at different points in their lives.
Thirty-something Vincent Machot (Khojandi) is a hairdresser, like his father before him, and lives in an apartment beneath his mother, a reclusive and eccentric puppeteer who shamelessly manipulates her son to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants.
When Vincent fails to turn up with a tin of crab meat and lemon for her lunch she sulks until he gets back on his bicycle to find them. His ride takes him to the far side of town where he has a moment of deja vu with the shopkeeper, middle-aged Rosalie (Lvovsky). Intrigued, the shy hairdresser follows Rosalie to work out why she's familiar.
This random encounter changes the lives of three characters; Vincent, Rosalie and her estranged niece Aude (Isaaz), who becomes entwined delightfully in proceedings.
The story is split into three parts, one from each character's perspective. It's a very clever narrative device and, to avoid giving too much away, the less said the better.
The charm lies in how our perceptions of what's happening change depending on who's telling the story, and how well Rappeneau uses this device to create twists and turns.
Whimsical, tender and original, Rosalie Blum is a fabulous debut.
Noemie Lvovsky, Kyan Khojandi
M (Offensive language)
A wonderful, whimsical film about stalking.