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Mia Hansen-Løve's debut feature, about a Parisian teenager's attempt to reunite with her troubled, long-absent father, marked her as one of the world's most accomplished, precociously masterful emerging young directors.
Painting a tender, intimate and emotionally overwhelming portrait of familial strife and dependence with the assured precision of a master, Mia Hansen-Løve announced herself as a remarkable new talent with her debut feature. Victor (Paul Blain) lives in Vienna with his wife Annette (Marie-Christine Friedrich) and young daughter Pamela (Victoire Rousseau). Devoted to his family but perpetually unable to connect with them, Victor continually disappears from home and becomes trapped in a self-destructive spiral of drugs and alcohol. Hoping to salvage their relationship, Victor and Annette return to Paris, but after a violent argument Victor leaves and moves in with a junkie with whom he has fallen in love. More than a decade later, the now seventeen year-old Pamela (Constance Rousseau), living in Paris with her mother, discovers that her father lives nearby and attempts to rebuild her relationship with him. Noted critic and Locarno Film Festival director Olivier Père singled out Hansen-Løve as one of the world's best emerging directors on the basis of this powerful debut: "It's a rare film (especially a first film) that succeeds in expressing feelings as profound as those surrounding separation, absence, and bereavement with as much subtlety and style."