Loss and hope in the aftermath of Paris terrorist attack
By Samuel Barson
On 13th November 2015, Paris was hit by a series of coordinated terrorist attacks, completely devastating the peaceful city. In Amanda, writer-director Mikhaël Hers has invented a similar attack on the city and people of Paris, a tragic event to disrupt the lives of the film’s protagonists.
Killed in the attacks is Sandrine, who leaves behind her 7-year-old daughter, the titular Amanda. Sandrine’s brother David finds himself responsible for his little niece, and the film’s story is the journey of these two characters and the bond they create in the aftermath of such an horrendous event for their family.
As David, Vincent Lacoste is terrific. His ability to ascertain the emotions born from his character’s turbulent situation is striking: he balances stoicism for the sake of protecting his niece and expresses the explosive sadness that overcomes him in quiet moments. He also has the chance to explore a more charismatic side to his character in scenes with his love interest Léna, who was also injured during the terrorist attacks.
Isaure Multrier fittingly pulls the audience’s heartstrings in the titular role, with the majority of this film’s loss and devastation being seen through the eyes of this innocent, pure and sweet young girl.
Complimenting the cast’s powerful performances is Anton Sanko’s music composition. As the characters go through their respective roller coasters of grief, Sanko’s composition beautifully joins them and the audience on their ride.
Cinematographer Sébastien Buchmann plays a pivotal role in presenting audiences with a sense of hope and positivity that is desperately needed in a heavy narrative such as this one. He captures the beauty of Paris, despite the horrors that have occurred within and leaves us with a welcome feeling that this gorgeous city could never truly be destroyed, and neither could its people.
Despite some momentary weaknesses in the script, the exquisite performances and touching theme of loss make Amanda a very worthwhile contribution to this year’s Alliance Française French Film Festival.
Amanda screens 5 March – 10 April at Palace Cinemas across Australia as part of the 30th Alliance Française French Film Festival. Tickets can be purchased online.