2020 French Film Festival (all over Australia until Aug 4)
Palace Nova Adelaide and Prospect
Review By Sarah List
Eva Green (as Sarah) leads a fabulous cast in Proxima – the space film that’s not the Sci-Fi experience you’ve probably been on auto pilot to expect whenever you see a movie that’s based on travel beyond our planet. Alice Winocaur’s vision for Proxima is much more terrestrial and tangible, and sits unexpectedly well alongside our present human experience of separation, longing and loss that’s occurred as a result of COVID19. Proxima follows Sarah’s journey of training for a year-long stay in the International Space Station. She’s a single mum to a young daughter, Stella (Zélie Boulant), who’s old enough to understand the type of work that Sarah does, but still frightened at the thought of losing the physical presence of Sarah for a year – or worse if something were to go unexpectedly wrong. There are additional pressures for Sarah in the form of her boss Mike (Matt Dillon) who has doubts about her abilities, expertise and commitment to the mission due to her young mother status. Fortunately, Sarah has the support of her ex-partner Thomas (Lars Eidinger) who is also part of the space program and therefore understand well the challenges that Sarah faces.
Beautifully shot at a number of genuine space training locations, Winocaur has written a visual letter of tribute to the challenges faced by women choosing a career with a path to the stars. The very real tensions of working career women and their conflicting emotions towards achieving something incredible, while meeting the demands and expectations of motherhood are palpable throughout. The sense of connection between Sarah and Stella are genuine and well supported by Sarah’s ex Thomas. Sarah and Thomas’ relationship may no longer be romantic, but it’s lovely to see the functional partnership and understanding between them, with concern for their daughter at the centre.
A fabulous, thought provoking, and gently heart pulling experience.