Lola and the Sea
Director: Laurent Mitchell
Stars: Mya Bollaers, Benoît Magimel, Sami Outalbali
An eighteen-year-old transgender woman has a stormy reunion with her estranged dad in this sensitive and handsomely-rendered Belgian family drama meets road movie. Lola (Bollaers) lives in the city with her best friend Samir (Outalbali from ‘Sex Education’). She is about to have gender reassignment surgery with the full support of her beloved mother. Then, tragically, Lola’s mother dies, meaning Lola has to return to the family home for the funeral where she encounters her father Phillipe (Magimel). Although they have barely spoken in years, they agree to a truce in order to fulfil Lola’s mother’s last wishes and drive her ashes to scatter them in the North Sea. Slowly but surely their relationship thaws. The trajectory may sound a little familiar, but it’s well-played by the leads with transgender newcomer Bolloens holding her own against the more experienced Magimel, and the script is impressively nuanced and even-handed: heroine Lola can be quarrelsome and bratty, while Philippe’s brusque façade belies a real bruised sensitivity. Olivier Boonjing’s pink-hued photography (the colour is a bit of recurring motif) imbues the drama with an arrestingly dreamy feel, and the soundtrack features choice selections from Culture Club and Anthony and the Johnsons.