Emporte-moi (Set Me Free)

Emporte-moi (Set Me Free, 1999). Québec director Léa Pool's sixth feature is the award-winning Emporte-moi, set in the 1960s.

Emporte-moi (Set Me Free, 1999). Québec director Léa Pool's sixth feature is the award-winning Emporte-moi, set in the 1960s. In it Pool explores the dilemmas of a teenage girl, Hanna (Karine Vanasse), and her unhappy relationship with her suicidal Catholic mother (Pascale Bussières) and Jewish father (Miki Manojlovic), who is traumatized by his experiences during the Holocaust. At the movies, Hanna is especially fond of Jean-Luc Godard's Vivre sa vie, which she watches over and over again. She gropes for a sense of identity by bonding with the seductive and defiant screen image of Anna Karina, the French star of the film.

Emporte-moi's yearning lyricism is exemplified by a sequence in which Hanna and a girl she meets at the movies drift toward each other at a high-school party and end up kissing tenderly in an alley. In some of its details, the film resembles François Truffaut's seminal The 400 Blows, which is about a young boy whose parents are unhappy, and who keeps a shrine to Balzac in his bedroom. Hanna's Balzac is Karina in Vivre sa vie, leaning against a wall, smoking insolently, caring about nothing. The film provides Hanna with not only a role model, but a life strategy.

As well as winning awards internationally and being named best film of the year by the Toronto Film Critics Association, the film was nominated for Genie Awards for best direction and best screenplay and won prix Jutras for best actress (Vanasse), supporting actress (Bussières) and art direction.