Movie  Cerise – Jérôme Enrico
11/05/201508:00 Judith Prescott



As a follow-up to his award winning PauletteJérôme Enrico has gone for a younger audience with a predictable tale of a troubled adolescent sent to a foreign country to learn the error of their ways.


Although at times verging on the kitsch and clichéd, Cerise is not without charm notably due to the performance of Zoé Adjani-Vallat in the title role. And yes her aunt is the famous French actor Isabelle Adjani to whom the young Zoé bears more than a passing resemblance. She is incredibly touching as the mouthy adolescent who hides her fragility behind a tough, belligerant swagger and the expected volte face in her behaviour is achieved with surprising credibilty.
Adults will cringe at the blatant nods to teenage whimsy, but the younger generation could well provide Enrico with a hit.
 



Cerise is 14 years old going on 24. With her plum-coloured hair, mini-skirt and six inch heels she is already in full rebellion against her single mother Pascale (Olivia Côte) and the world in general. No longer able to cope with her precocious daughter, Pascale sends Cerise to her father Fred (Jonathan Zaccaï) in Ukraine. Fred is less than delighted to be saddled with an offspring he barely knows and Cerise spends most of her time with a neighbour, fun-loving pensioner Nina (the late Tania Vichkova) and her friends. Soon Cerise is helping the old ladies with their business selling cheap statues of Lenin and watching from the sidelines of the Ukrainian struggle.
 
There’s nothing subtle about the politics here. Good hearted Ukranians are fighting to retain their independence from corrupt Russians, but the battle between the two sides is merely a pretext for Cerise to discover the first stirrings of a political conscious. And it’s not even down to Nina and her friends, but through a crush she develops on a Ukranian freedom fighter. It’s tacky, but somehow Enrico pulls it off and the Cerise that emerges from her sulky, teenage cocoon is a mature, confident young woman.
 
Jérôme Enrico, the son of veteran director
 Roberto Enrico, does glide a little too easily over certain plot discrepencies. Cerise doesn’t speak a word of Russian and yet has no problem communicating with Nina and her friends. And the neat division of Ukranian peasant ‘good’/Russian businessman ‘bad’ is heavy handed and borderline offensive.
 
But overall, Cerise is not a political manifesto, but an entertaining story about the pangs of adolescence.




I have worked as a journalist for 24 years both in London, England and now in Paris, France. I was a broadcast journalist for the English service of Radio France Internationale in Paris for 17 years before leaving to set up a blog for French cinema fans everywhere. I also worked as a reviewer of French films for The Hollywood Reporter and was a jury member for the Prix Michel d'Ornano at the Festival of American Films at Deauville. I am passionate about French films, both old and new, and want to share this passion with filmgoers around the globe.

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