In Eleonore Faucher's debut film, "Sequins" (French title, "Brodeuses"), still waters run silent and deep inside 17-year-old Claire (Lola Naymark).
The soft-spoken teenager plucks cabbages from her parents' patch and secretly trades them for rabbit hides. (She uses the skins for sequined embroidery, her private passion.) She also works the cash register at the local supermarket. Yet despite her busy schedule (she also milks cows), she lives a withdrawn, secretive life.
No surprise, then, that Claire has been pregnant these past few months and has told virtually no one. As her condition becomes obvious, she quits her job, planning to have the child and put it up for adoption. She gets embroidery work in the home of Madame Melikian (Ariane Ascaride), an Armenian woman mourning the death of her son. This new relationship, between despondent Claire and her brooding boss, evolves, and their lives undergo subtle but unequivocal changes for the better.
"Sequins," which Faucher wrote with Gaelle Mace, feels like one idea stretched into a modest, colorful display. But Faucher's lovely colors and images, and the appealing presence of the red-haired, puckery-lipped Naymark, give us much to mull, including the quiet desperation of her life and the lives of so many others.
-- Desson Thomson