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Agathe Riedinger’s Stylish but Familiar Debut

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When Liane (Malou Khebizi), the protagonist of Agathe Riedinger’s trendy debut function Wild Diamond (Diamant Brut), says that she would be the French Kim Kardashian, it sounds extra like a prophecy than a need.

The 19-year-old waitress from Fréjus is obsessive about fame and wonder. She scrupulously saved her paychecks to get breast augmentation surgical procedure. She had a buddy inject hyaluronic acid into her lips to plump them. Now she has her sights set on getting a BBL. Liane chronicles her physique modifications on Instagram, the place her 1000’s of followers depart adoring feedback that she repurposes as every day affirmations. “I’m not like everyone else,” Liane says all through the movie to the skeptics and doubters.

Wild Diamond

The Backside Line

Alluring however missing a particular edge.

Venue: Cannes Movie Competition (Competitors)
Solid: Malou Khebizi, Idir Azougli, Andréa Bescond, Ashley Romano, Alexis Manenti
Director-screenwriter: Agathe Riedinger

1 hour 43 minutes

Premiering in competitors at Cannes, Wild Diamond is Riedinger’s compassionate contribution to the “perils-of-social-media-and-fame” style. The movie expands on themes first explored within the director’s 2017 quick Ready for Jupiter, which adopted a younger girl, additionally named Liane, who, upon discovering out she has been chosen to take part in a actuality tv program, proceeds to chop ties with these round her. Riedinger loosely maintains that plot for this function, however demonstrates a extra mature model. She mixes the intimate and candid character research typical of an Andrea Arnold venture (disaffected younger girl in troubling conditions) with the darker thematic currents of Magnus von Horn’s 2020 drama Sweat, one other movie in regards to the pitfalls of influencer tradition that premiered at Cannes.

Wild Diamond options beautiful and frank observations about influencer tradition, however it struggles to say itself narratively. There are moments when the fantastic thing about the venture can really feel like a distraction from its skinny story. Liane drifts via numerous conditions, a few of which appear contrived to pad the journey from the assured starting to the refreshingly completely different finish.

Riedinger’s screenplay and camerawork with DP Noé Bach by no means look down on Liane. The truth is, with their close-ups and ethereal visible language, the filmmakers cradle the protagonist, caring for her like she does for her goals. However all of the lingering and indulging does make one marvel in regards to the line between poetic appreciation and a sort of aesthetic fetishization. When does one develop into the opposite? 

As a working-class younger girl with a fractious relationship along with her mom (Andréa Bescond), Liane strikes via the world with a hardened, self-protective armor. Wild Diamond opens with scenes of Liane’s life: She peddles stolen items on the road for further money; exchanges harsh phrases with sleazy males who, as a result of she prefers quick skirts and stilettos, name her a whore; cares for her little sister Alicia (Ashley Romano); and scrolls via Instagram, noting the devotional messages from her followers and studying from extra well-known influencers. 

In a single significantly affecting sequence, we see Liane meticulously glueing rhinestones she pilfered off a shirt on the mall onto a worn pair of silver stilettos. She treats them, and the opposite objects in her closet, with the identical overwhelming devotion as Ariel does her grotto treasures. Probably the most fascinating moments in Wild Diamond lean into the spiritual valences of poisonous influencer tradition. Riedinger well maps a relationship between the will to be well-known, class aspirations and the worship of cash. Audrey Ismaël’s cello-heavy rating and the selection to venture the Instagram feedback as a dense paragraph recalling a Bible verse give Liane’s obsessions a compelling Catholic contact. 

The decision from the casting agent of the fact present Miracle Island marks the start of a brand new chapter for our aspiring celeb. Feeling a lot nearer to attaining her goals, Liane decides to personal her future in additional materials methods. She positive aspects tens of 1000’s of recent followers by probably doubtful means, and buys a gown she will’t afford as a result of it makes her really feel elegant. However what begins off as reckless however inoffensive decisions quickly take a extra wicked flip. After a month of not listening to from the agent following a sort of humiliating in-person audition, Liane’s conduct turns into extra distressing as she makes an attempt to stave off hopelessness. 

Liane is a completely realized character, and Khebizi’s grounding efficiency retains her from feeling like an assemblage of clichés. Sadly, that’s not the case for the characters who encompass her. It appears the opposite individuals in Liane’s orbit exist to counter her obsession with generally participating however normally apparent arguments about life’s different beauties. A relationship along with her crush (an appropriately delicate Idir Azougli) suffers most from this: Whereas Liane focuses on aesthetics, Dino finds the pure world enchanting. Liane’s ties along with her shut associates sometimes introduce real stress — particularly as they query her rigidity in regards to the significance of magnificence and cash — however they aren’t developed sufficient to have endurance. 

There’s a curious second in Wild Diamond when Liane, nonetheless ready for the casting agent to return her calls, movies a video for her followers. In it, she cites a perception in God and makes a passing remark about her success as a type of vengeance. The supply is fervent, casting Liane as a messiah and her quest for fame as a campaign. It’s a prickly sentiment that provides a distinct perspective on what’s recognized in regards to the tradition bred by social media, and exploring it may need given Riedinger’s movie a mandatory distinctive edge that it in any other case lacks.

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