Elena (Mesquida) is 15, old enough to understand the effect of her beauty on males, young enough to feel insecure and confused over how to lose her virginity to the right person. Her 12-year-old sister Anaïs (Reboux), on the other hand, is fat, envious and insists that, when the time comes, she'd rather give herself to a stranger. Holidaying with their parents, the girls reach a new phase in their bickering when Elena starts seeing Italian law student Fernando (De Rienzo), whose determination to have sex involves smooth talk that may persuade Elena of his romantic intentions, but doesn't fool little sister, reluctant witness to his siegecraft from her bed across the room. What if mum or dad were to find out? Breillat's typically tough but sensitive study of sisterly rivalry may be less philosophical in tone - not to mention less visually explicit - than its predecessor Romance, but it remains notable for its refusal to provide a facile, politically correct account of adolescent experience. As psychological portrait and social critique, the film offers cruelly honest insights. Dark, disturbing and hugely impressive, it's made all the more lucid by superb performances from the two young actresses.
Cast and crew
Libero De Rienzo