LOUISE AT THE SHORE

— by Jeff Schultz

[Special dispatch from the 27th annual Tromsø International Film Festival]

     Simply but appealingly drawn, it’s Robinson Crusoe reimagined as a lost (in many senses) year in the life of an 80-something French woman. She misses the last train of the summer season, leaving her stranded and alone in a Britanny beach town, where she teaches herself basic survival skills and quietly comes to terms with a past she had erased from memory. (Indeed, this is the quietest, most gently realized animated feature I’ve seen.) And just as Crusoe eventually met up with his companion “Friday”, so too does Louise find a helpmeet, only in this case it’s a wise old dog who can (sometimes) talk.
     Like a memory play, the movie flashes back to scenes from Louise’s youth, which solitude forces her to confront. The recollections bring a moment of despair which threatens to drown out any further memories. But it ends in, if not triumph, then something past mere acceptance. Call it grace. Just a lovely film.

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