Locarno 2017: Noémie Lvovsky’s Tomorrow and Thereafter

The world premiere of Tomorrow and Thereafter (Demain et tous les autres jours) has opened this year’s Locarno Festival. “Noémie Lvovsky directs and stars in this discreetly fantastical, partly whimsical and sometimes unsentimental portrait of a mother whose fraught relationship with her daughter exposes her own psychological fragility,” begins Joseph Owen at the Upcoming. “Luce Rodriguez is mesmerizing as the conscientious nine-year-old daughter, Mathilde, while Lvovsky conveys the numbing fluctuations of the mother’s mental illness—the electric fug that overwhelms the brain, the emotional sterility, the stillness, the mania.”

“Lvovsky expects viewers to be so taken with her young protagonist and her unbalanced mother that they’ll treat the whole thing as a precious fairy tale of peril and liberation,” writes Jay Weissberg for Variety, “yet there’s something so deeply personal here (or perhaps so deeply French) that it’s difficult to imagine just who it’s made for exactly. Certainly not those who cringe at the presentation of mental illness as a romanticized state of semi-grace.”

For IndieWire’s Eric Kohn, “as smart as the filmmakers are in their good taste in costume and as shrewdly as they dress their sets with an eye for detail that would make James Gray blush, so too do they ultimately withdraw from the intensity of emotion that is suggested by the subject matter. For a film about a child struggling to cope with her mother’s madness, Tomorrow and Thereafter is remarkably low-key and withdrawn.”

“Although peppered with intensely dreamlike sequences (such as the gentle flight of the talking owl that Mathilde’s mum gives her as a present) that conjure up delightful scenes that could have come straight out of Studio Ghibli, Tomorrow and Thereafter exudes an utterly worldly energy,” finds Giorgia Del Don at Cineuropa, adding that “Mathieu Amalric (in the role of Mathilde’s father) pops up at the end of the movie like a magician waiting to lap up the audience’s applause after the curtain has gone down.”

Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian, too, finds that “this tale . . . comes close to the poetry of Miyazaki.” And Mattia Bertoldi interviews Lvovsky for the festival.

Update, 8/5: “A moving, intimate and intensely emotional coming-of-age story resounding with personal echoes, this gentle and touching picture is dedicated by Noemie Lvovsky to the memory of her mother, who died in 2010,” notes Screen’s Dan Fainaru. “An often awarded and experienced actress and director, Lvovsky, who credits Arnaud Desplechin as an inspiration for playing both sides of the camera at the same time, never takes a wrong turn on either side. Though she was evidently deeply involved emotionally in the story, it is all delivered in subtle, low-key tones.”

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