Thursday, September 17, 2015

TIFF 2015: Sky

Norman Reedus, Diane Kruger and Lena Dunham avec bebe
Sky (France/Germany, 2015) directed by Fabienne Berthaud, Ryerson Theatre, 3p, 100 minutes

Romy (Diane Kruger) is a young French woman unhappily married to the rather brutish 
Richard (Gilles Lellouche) and holidaying in America. After a violent altercation during a drunken fight, Romy flees and heads for Las Vegas, fearing that she has killed Richard. 

She later finds out that she has not. But this is only after many mis/adventures (in a small cameo, Kruger's real life boyfriend Joshua Jackson appears as a police officer who informs her that Richard is still alive). 

Romy hitchhikes to Las Vegas, dons a bunny costume to pose for photographs for money, is mistaken for a working girl, and meets the enigmatic Diego, a park ranger who claims only to sleep with prostitutes. 

Director Fabienne Berthaud with translator
Romy is the sort of romantic European who is in love with the southwest, aboriginal cultureand the image of cowboys. A seedy bar in the middle of nowhere with a cast of dubious characters has enormous appeal for her. To my North American eyes, the locale seems as sad and desperate as something out of The Last Picture Show. But for Romy, she feels that she is finally amongst honest, authentic people.

She follows Diego home and decides to remain there, finding a job as a waitress, befriending Diego's pregnant sister-in-law Lena Dunham, and seeking solace from a wise and benevolent Indian grandmother who serves as a surrogate  mother to the lonely Romy and christens her "Sky". This makes me squirm a bit in that I recognize my own infatuation with aboriginal culture and values. I see pieces of Romy in myself and it makes me uneasy. 

Here she finds a kind of happiness even though her plans do not evolve as she has hoped. Krueger is convincing as the dislocated Romy and Reedus is appropriate as the mysteriously sexy Diego, the elusive object of her desire.

The footage of California and Nevada is stunning, romantic, picturesque ... much as Romy imagines it to be. It is easy to buy into the fantasy, the romance of the southwest. 

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