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SLALOM Directed by Charlene Favier Starring: Noée Abita, Jérémie Renier, Marie Denarnaud You must give 100%. We’ll push you hard. You’ll have 10 hours of sport a week on top of classes and weekend training. We’ll see what you’re made of. - Fred. Under the guidance of a strict ex-champion, a promising 15-year-old girl trains as a professional skiing star. Will she be able to endure the physical and emotional pressures? The film draws on the personal history of director Charlene Favier with help of Marie Talon. A scenario of precision and focusing beings too young and often confusing needs of glory with recognition. Lise (Noée Abita) whose extent of talent had already been tested and joined the difficult and challenging sport-study section of a mountain high school since she chose skiing. She is coached by Fred who had to give up competition following an injury and now dreams of revenge by an intermediary student and Lilou (Marie Renardaud) for supervising studies. When she arrives, Lyz is not quite at the same level as the other students, which will earn her some teasing which, far from bringing her down, stimulates her, mainly because she is a fighter. Abandoned by a totally a totally absent father and mother who struggles with incessant employment and housing problems, she is ready to do anything to feel loved and looked after. It is in this mountain setting with both fascinating and frightening beauty, the story painstakingly recreates the toughness of training, Lyz’s determination, but above all the double play of Fred who, under the pretence of sporting emulation can strike just a few seconds apart, bringing total congratulations and humiliation just a few seconds apart to a young woman and weaken her. Technically and adroitly the camera stops moving between control and affectivity for a long time on the proximity between coach and candidate, where the bodies united by the same desire for victory, come together in search of the best performance, and where to avoid any weakness or to avoid risk of injury, even the moment intimate details of the young girl’s life are scrutinized with a view to ensuring that the body is perfectly suited to the physical efforts required. Between almost fatherly advice and gestures a little too informatively intimate to suggest that Fred is a vulgar pervert used to abusing his candidates entrusted to him or does he feel a real feeling of affection for his protégé? For her part, isn’t Lyz lying to herself making her trainer the remedy for the existential ill-being that is eating her away? 20

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