The New Woman: a powerful first film, led with conviction by Jasmine Trinca and Leïla Bekhti (review)

The New Woman: a powerful first film, led with conviction by Jasmine Trinca and Leïla Bekhti (review)

Retracing the career of Maria Montessori, screenwriter and director Léa Todorov creates a very beautiful portrait of a woman(s).

Did you know that the Montessori method was originally born to help children with disabilities? Through this powerful portrait of woman(s), Leah Todorov gives a life, a body, to these little ones “deficient”, as they were called at the beginning of the 20th century. She places them at the heart of intelligent reflection on education, with particular emphasis on the young Tina (Rafaëlle Sonneville-Caby), that her mother Lili (Leila Bekhti) tries to hide out of shame, and who will feed on the teachings of Maria Montessori (Jasmine Trinca). They who have been invisible for so long by society are filmed from all angles by the director, who offers them very beautiful scenes, for example when they find their rhythm in music.

Jasmine Trinca, Italian actress already acclaimed for her roles in The son's room Or Our best yearscarries with ease The New Woman. She convincingly embodies this teacher who suffers from not being able to raise her own son, born out of wedlock, as she would like. Capable of overturning conventions in her profession, she struggles to apply her innovative ideas on the family and sentimental level, not being able to reconcile everything.

By wanting to destroy any idea of ​​a biopic “classic”, the director contrasts her with a fictional character, an apparently free woman who also experiences her thwarted motherhood in secret. Leïla Bekhti surprises with this anti-heroine, a seductive and unmaternal woman, who nevertheless manages to make her Lili endearing throughout her exchanges with Montessori. Appearing as the ideal counterweight to illustrate Maria's revolutionary ideas, it allows the screenwriter and director to remind us that all these issues of education and female emancipation still remain very current.

The New Woman, by Léa Todorov, with Jasmine Trinca, Leïla Bekhti, Rafaëlle Sonneville-Caby… Released March 13, 2024.

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