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September 23, 2023


Scarlet (2022)

French with English Subtitles
1hr 40 min

Movie Poster_.jpg


Eye For Film >> Movies >> Scarlet (2022) Film Review
d by: Anne-Katrin Titze  09 Oct 2022

A wood craftsman returns from the First World War and unites with his infant daughter, who one day will receive a premonition from the local sorceress saying that scarlet sails shall take her away, adapted from the 1923 novel Scarlet Sails by Russian author Alexander Grin, an antimilitarist and adventure writer.

"There are astounding moments of audio visual density that make Scarlet so wonderful a film - especially because we are bestowed with a generosity in spirit and utter lack of prejudice."  Cannes Directors’ Fortnight opener Scarlet

Scarlet (a highlight of the 60th New York Film Festival) tells the story of Raphaël returning from the front to the village where he lived. 
He is a big man with strong hands, a woodworker with great artistic talent and a love of music.  His wife Marie had died in the meantime and he finds out that his baby daughter Juliette is being taken care of by Madame Adeline who lives in a farmhouse outside the village. She offers Raphaël room and board and a platonic friendship that will last for years to come. Together with the family of a blacksmith she also takes in, they form an unusual and modern union of outsiders.  Yet, Juliette narrowly escapes her mother’s fate and manages to carve out a life for herself.

The score by Gabriel Yared ( The Talented Mr. Ripley, Cold Mountain, The English Patient - all of which feature costumes by Ann Roth, who also won for The English Patient) is truly enchanting.  In Scarlet, the swallow song Les Hirondelles has music set to anarchist writer Louise Michel’s poem from 1861 and it is the rediscovery of female voices from the past and once silenced that resonate.

Juliette shown to us at different youthful ages grows up in her extended family, learns what is important in life, and becomes a talented musician.  She helps her father sell the remarkable wooden toys he makes to the owner of a toy shop in town, which resembles that in The Tin Drum.
 Shunned by the villagers, the grown-up Juliette receives an oracle by the local sorceress that one day a ship with red sails will take her to new adventures.

And indeed, an airship does fall from the sky, containing the handsomely moustached pilot who woos Juliette with his charm and utterly modern outlook on interwar 20th century life.
 And yet, as is often overlooked, it is as in many fairy tales that the damsel is rescuing the prince.  Don’t forget, Rapunzel, single mother of twins, thrown out from her home is the one who restores eyesight to the prince with her magical tears.

In Scarlet the couple meets swimming in a lake and as is the case in Beauty and the Beast, the story evolves around love for the father and love for a lover.

Folktales and their magical, wondrous approach to all the most troubling concerns in life are omnipresent in Scarlet.  Raphaël has the spirit and craft of Geppetto and Juliette is a real girl.  Her decision not to pursue an education in the big city and stay with her father instead is completely her own and respected by everyone.

Winds are blowing and freedom is what we all desire - this is the space where Scarlet is located.  The witchcraft of the past was often a special skill of marginalised women acutely aware of their surroundings.  Wisdom, cruelty, decision-making - Scarlet makes us think and feel and maybe the feelings and the thoughts overlap.  Nothing here caters to escapism, because war is looming, the past is never past, a big hand can protect a small one, and the wisdom of folktales should never be underestimated.



Scarlett Trailer.jpg


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