A Piece of Sky review

:. Director: Bénédicte Liénard
:. Starring: Séverine Caneele, Sofia Leboutte
:. Script: Bénédicte Liénard
:. Running Time: 1:26
:. Year: 2002
:. Country: Belgium


A Piece of Sky is about women who try to resist their environment and take advantage of it. Bénédicte Liénard describes two mirror universes: the prison and the factory. In both cases confinement, submission to an iniquitous hierarchy and the exploitation of work prevail.

Joanna is in prison, for a reason that will be not be revealed until the end of film. She revolts against the guardians, lives through conflicts with fellow prisoners and struggles to curb her violent and self-destructive impulses. At the factory the workers, her former colleagues, regret not having supported her. In fact it's even more the case for the trade unionist, who finally dares to testify for her. It would seem that the illicit acts perpetrated by Joanna were justified by her difficult work conditions at the factory and pressure from management.

Joanna is Severine Caneele, who appeared in Bruno Dumont's film, L' Humanité which won an award at Cannes in 2000 and caused a scandal. After such a difficult role, the career of this actress seemed compromised. Marked by this performance, this nonprofessional actress took the risk to not be confined to similar roles. Unfortunately, this film does not offer her the possibility of extending her acting range. Following the example of female characters in film: tragic prisoners, Caneele remains cloistered in a typecast role, at the crossroads of intimacy and politics.

In addition, the director does not manage to go beyond the filmmaking process, i.e. the parallel between the worlds of the prisoner and the worker. The narration is made up of the comings and goings between these two worlds, joined together in a final scene where the trade unionist returns to visit his friend in prison. Stuck by this only directing choice, the fiction slips and bores. However, the film could have been a fascinating foray into the world of work, in particular in the milieu of prison, the director obviously having more difficulties when it is a question of talking about intimacy.

  Fred Thom

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