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:: A Common Thread (Brodeuses)

French director, Elenore Faucher delivers a rarity of modern cinema with A Common Thread, an understated and personal film that plays down the drama.

Seventeen-year old Claire Moutier, played by Lola Naymark, works in a supermarket only to pay her bills. Her real passion is embroidery. She spends her evenings perfecting her art in her small studio apartment. Lately though, her life is not so easy. She is pregnant, and finding it increasingly difficult to conceal from her family and nosey workmates.

Elsewhere in the village Madame Melikian (Ariane Ascaride), a master embroiderer, has lost her only son in a motorcycle accident. She is struggling to keep up with her work for the Paris fashion houses under the weight of her grief, and can no longer deny she needs help. Claire goes to work for her on a trial basis, thankful to escape the supermarket gossip.

A Common Thread explores the relationship that develops between these two troubled women, as they spend their days quietly sewing. It is a subtle, reflective film in which each event guides Claire in an emotional journey through her unwanted pregnancy. The credits roll quite abruptly however, at a time when the audience is most engaged in the story. This device leaves an impression with the viewer as they mentally finish the tale, though some may find it simply unsatisfying.

The only criticism of the production values is the absence of a sense of era. It is unclear whether the story is set in the present day or several decades ago. Without a definite timeframe, we are lost in a sea of values and expectations that can distract from the central plot. Aside from that, it is well acted and beautifully composed.

This film is imbued with a pleasant earthiness throughout. From the green fields to Claire’s dewy young skin, everything is fresh and fertile, which fits well with the creation of art and new life. A Common Thread is a carefully embroidered story that takes its time, and for the most part, gets it right.