Flower Girl

Céline Sciamma made headlines when she came out at Cannes while getting rave reviews for her directorial debut film, Water Lilies. Now the film is ready to take on an American audience.

BY Michael Giltz

April 03 2008 11:00 PM ET

“Lesbianism is a subject that is really at the
beginning of its presentation in France, in movies and
with girls at that age,” says Sciamma.
“It really tells a lot about how girls interact at
that age, whether they’re going to be gay or
straight or whatever.

“It’s really rare where you go to the movies
and you have a ‘first kiss’ scene where
you’re really into it because you’ve seen it a
thousand times before. I thought [the gay angle] could
bring another emotion and put the audience into a kind
of new pure feeling about this.”

Like so many
French films, Water Lilies treats adolescence
with the same seriousness as the teenagers themselves.
Given the discreet but implicitly erotic scenes in the
movie, casting was key.

“They’re very, very different from their
characters,” says Sciamma about her three
leads. “I wanted girls who were the age of the part.
I wanted very [specific] looks. These girls, they
could be in American Pie, referring to the
stereotypes they fit into.

“This is a
blond, this one is chubby, and so on. I also wanted them to
be in charge of the parts and be good at them. I got
very lucky. I’ve been hunting for them a long
time.”

Perhaps the most
promising of all is Acquart as Marie. Acquart has an
awkward intensity and lovely lips; part of the irony of her
misfit status is that we can see what a gorgeous woman
this girl will become. Naturally, that was
intentional.

“I wanted
her to be like…a promise,” says Sciamma.
“I didn’t want a butchy young girl. The
movie is talking about what it’s like to become a
girl, in the Simone de Beauvoir way of speaking. I wanted
you to see she was going to be a pretty girl.”

Tags: film

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