Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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A beautifully engaging film, which is very much aimed at celebrating feminism in seventies France, amongst a backdrop of constricting bourgeois beliefs.
The movie gives us an insight into the struggles for equal rights faced by women at the time, and is very much aimed at celebrating female empowerment centered around a beautifully engaging love story between the two main characters. There is undeniably a strong chemistry between both the central characters which engrosses the audience, from the moment they meet.
Although rural girl Delphine (Izia Higelin) has known she is gay from a young age, traditional conformist views have kept her sexuality a secret, knowing it would tear her family apart, she is very much expected to follow the traditional path of working on the family farm, and marrying a local boy. This is contrasted with the free spirit of city dweller Carole (Cecile De France), who is very much fighting for female empowerment and equal rights.
Delphine takes time away from the farm, after the break-up of yet another secret relationship with a local girl and moves to Paris. The two meet after Delphine saves Carole from a scuffle with a man on the streets, all in the name of women's rights, and so commences their beautiful, yet tragic love story.
We get to glimmer into this beautiful relationship whilst they are in Paris, where for the first time in her life, Delphine can be open about who she really is. Delphine is mesmerized by Carole's free spirit, never imagining that women could have so much freedom and can be so outspoken, as she joins Carole and other women protesting for equality in a women's rights group. Carole is drawn in by the go-getting, determined charisma of Delphine, which we see when she leads the way on a group mission to set free a young man who has been put in a mental asylum by his parents for treatment for being gay.
However, tragedy strikes, and just as their love affair begins it is quickly turned into turmoil. Under tragic circumstances Delphine is forced back to her farm due to her father's ill health. Carole realises she cannot be without Delphine, and leaves everything behind, including a long-term relationship with her boyfriend to join her on the farm.
On arrival to Delphine's village, Carole finds a contradictory life to what she has been so passionately fighting for in Paris. She finds herself constrained by traditional village views, and their love affair is forced underground, behind Delphine's mothers back, whilst she takes up a job helping her "friend" run the family farm.
Much of the story is set in rural France surrounded by stunning landscapes, which director Catherine Corsini has captured beautifully. In the midst of this spectacular scenery there is a rather tragic undertone with the characters struggling to come to terms with who they really are thanks to conservative and conventional society views at the time. You can really sense Carole's frustration, as she tries to conform with the rural way of life, yet internally she is screaming to expose their relationship to the world.
The heart-breaking fact is Delphine has always known who she is really is, and whilst she helped open Carole's eyes, she cannot break the constraints and judgments of her own family and therefore these very constrictions end up costing her, her relationship with Carole.
The film ends with Delphine not willing to leave behind her family and farm and go with Carole after their love affair becomes public knowledge, and Delphine's mother throws her out the house. She cannot break free from the constraints of family tradition and is left with a heart-rending internal battle.
This is an extremely thought provoking film, and after willing Delphine to take the leap with Carole, despite knowing her mother would be left unable to cope with the family farm; we are left in a somewhat state of anguish as the film is drawing to a close. We are left with the realisation that this beautiful love story has succumbed to conformist beliefs.
Fast forward five years and Carole goes on eventually to meet another woman and settles back into Parisian life, whilst Delphine eventually musters up the courage to acquire her own farm and leave her family.