Suzanne

Thirty-four-year-old French director Katell Quillévéré (‘Love Like Poison’) had the idea for her second film ‘Suzanne’ after reading memoirs written by the partners of French criminals – women driven by love who abandon everything to stand by their men. We first meet Suzanne – named after the heroine of the Leonard Cohen song – at ten. Her mum is dead and she lives in smalltown France with her dad and sister – a fierce, loving little family. Time passes, we see snatches of years here and there. At 17, Suzanne (Sara Forestier) falls pregnant and keeps the baby, hauling him around noisy bars. Her sister is a bit wild, but there’s something almost suicidally reckless about Suzanne. She meets Julien (Paul Hamy), a man with a little-boy-lost face and a criminal record as long as your arm. But rather than follow Suzanne and Julien on the run, Quillévéré stays at home with her family. So in the end this isn’t a Bonnie-and-Clyde ballad, but a tender, sad and real love story about families. Every emotion is bang-on; every scene unfolds grippingly and naturally; and by the end, these characters feel like people you know. 

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday March 14 2014
Duration: 92 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Katell Quillévéré
Screenwriter: Katell Quillévéré
Cast: Lola Duenas
Sara Forestier
François Damiens
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Paul M

Suzanne packs intelligent and emotional punches: she's a wild child, her trucker dad copes as best he can with daughters and baby in the absence of his wife, the father-daughter and inter-sister relationships are handled brilliantly. They all do their best in difficult circumstances down the decades, in the absence of conventional family structures & roles. Reminds me of the Dardenne brothers in the best ways. Deserves a far bigger audience than just the Institut Francais / Lumiere. Come on BFI, Curzons & Picturehouses, pick Suzanne up and distribute her widely!