Screened as part of NZIFF 2006

Alex 2005

Directed by José Alcala

Terse, character driven drama set in the quiet mountains of Ardèche, in France, where a staunchly independent woman tries to connect with her wary, mistrustful teenage son.

France In French with English subtitles
100 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay


Pascal Poucet


Marie-Hélène Mora


Jean-Pierre Ronda


Marie Raynal
Lyes Salem
Adrien Ruiz
Eric Savin
Liliane Rovère


San Sebastián 2005; Rotterdam 2006


This terse character-driven drama is illuminated by Marie Raynal's love-her-or-leave-her performance as Alex, a staunchly independent woman seeking peace and quiet in the mountains of the Ardèche, and trying to connect with her wary, mistrustful teenage son, Xavier. Currently in a foster home, he isn't buying his mother's terse explanation ("I wasn't stable") for having refused to see him for most of his life. She earns her living as a market trader and a builder. She has no trouble matching up to the local men, or enlisting their admiration and support as she renovates an old dilapidated house, in the hope that Xavier, will move in.

"The film does not need many words to get under the viewer's skin. In an unsentimental, apparently aloof and sober way, Alcala films the dry mountains, the farmers' market early in the morning, the bare interiors, the way of surviving in the French countryside, the clumsy attempts at love and contact. Alex is, as Libération put it, a rough diamond. Pure filmic art." — Dicky Parlevliet, Rotterdam Film Festival