The Braves (Entre les Vagues)
With The Braves writer-director Anaïs Volpé has created a beautiful portrait of female friendship that is as jubilant as it is absolutely devastating. Starring Souheila Yacoub and Déborah Lukumuena as budding theatre stars and close friends Margot and Alma, the film opens with the pair being cast in the same production – Alma as the lead and Margot as her understudy. After an all-night celebration that leads to gatecrashing a wedding, the friends couldn’t be happier. But when Margot discovers that her friend has been hiding a serious illness from her, both their worlds come crashing down. But the show must go on, and Margot is forced to confront that living her dream may come at the cost of her friend’s life.
Whereas it would be far too easy for a plot like this to rely on its dramatic premise to carry itself, Volpé succeeds by forgoing the melodrama and cutting straight to the core of the issue at hand, with the friendship at the heart of it all. The director never shies away from approaching difficult issues surrounding death and illness in the script, and she does so in a way that feels real. There’s no artifice: no sappy string orchestration or weepy pop songs here (contrarily, the flick is scored by a bombastic jazz beat). Every ounce of emotion is thanks to the brutal honesty of the writing and the ground-shattering performances from Lukumuena and Yacoub.
While the script does skim over some major ethical questions in favour of keeping the actin centred on the friendship, The Braves never misses a single beat. It’s funny, uplifting and sweet when the moment calls for it. Likewise, when things get heavy the film doesn’t pull any punches. It forces viewers to watch the pair’s ordeal at its lowest, most intimate moments, and it’s utterly heartbreaking.
Fronted by two outstanding performances that give everything to a script that holds nothing back, The Braves is an unforgettably moving ode to friendship.
The Braves (Entre les Vagues) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Glasgow Film Festival 2022 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Glasgow Film Festival website here.
Watch a clip from The Braves (Entre les Vagues) here: