Stars: Laetitia Dosch, Souleymane Seye Ndiaye, Grégoire Monsaingeon
French writer-director Serraille’s vital, free-form debut follows a rudderless young woman, recently arrived back in Paris from Mexico after a ten-year relationship, as she attempts to rebuild her life. The thirty-one-year-old Paula (Dosch) was counting, wrongly, on being able to stay with an ex, a photographer who, although he made his reputation with a photograph of her, feels under no obligation. Winging it royally, Paula ricochets around Paris, staying one night at a friend’s until she offends her, then at the apartment of a man she had met at a party just the night before. Despite her erratic impulsive behaviour, Paula manages to get a foothold into something approaching normality when she blags her way into a job as a nanny with a posh family. Later she gets a job selling lingerie at a high-end department store - ‘I love organisation and I’m calm’ she lies at the interview. There she begins a flirtation with an overqualified security guard Ousmane (Ndiaye). Made with a mainly female crew (and reportedly when the director was pregnant) this is a richly rounded portrait of a young woman bewildered by life options, but just about making it. A funny and wistful turn from powerhouse Dosch ensures that resilient heroine Paula remains sympathetic and relatable even at her most dizzyingly unpredictable or engaging in questionable behaviour, whether it’s breaking into an ex’s apartment or stealing a coat from a hospital. Julie Roué’s melancholy jazz score perfectly complements the material.