Lola and the Sea
Lola and the Sea is a beautifully realistic take on the estranged relationships that can occur between parents and their LGBTQ+ children. It makes a point of highlighting three very different reactions to the coming-out of a child – from extreme violence, to acceptance and support, to an inability to understand. This picture follows the journey of Lola, a young trans woman. After the death of her mother, she has the chance to mend things with her father, who denies her identity; the result is almost a buddy-cop road trip movie, following father and daughter as they decide how to go about spreading the mother’s ashes.
Shot in square aspect ratio with lots of focus on facial expressions and lone objects, the film’s framing keeps tensions high with creative obscurity and omissions, allowing the rest of the production to further experiment with cinematography and angles. One particular shot that tugs at the heart involves Lola looking into the bathroom and seeing her younger self crying. While obviously just a metaphor for her growth, viewers can find themselves second-guessing the fact because of the smoothness of the framing and the way the transition carries the scene.
Everything is quiet and simple, which contrasts with the fast turnaround of events. Juxtaposition features in general, for example in the clever pathetic fallacy of the protagonist running up a hill with some kids on a bright sunny day in a flashback scene, against a thunderstorm in the present, at night on the drive back to the beach with her dad. The overlapping of the visuals and sound here becomes all the more poignant as certain truths come to light.
The message of this feature is that relationships and acceptance are not easy journeys. There are moments where the audience are lulled into a false sense of security, feeling that things are better between Lola and her father, Philippe. They bond, argue less and even laugh together – that is until something happens that reminds both them and the viewers that no amount of feel-good moments can make up for their differences. What’s interesting is that its ending takes inspiration from 400 Blows: Philippe runs across the sea as Lola sees another vision of her younger self and smiles. While there’s no resolution here, there is hope.
Lola and the Sea is released in select cinemas on 17th December 2021.
Watch the trailer for Lola and the Sea here: