MILLA (Valerie Massadian 2017) France | Portugal

Reviewed by Xinyu Zhou. Viewed at AFI Fest 2017.

It’s dark screen at the beguiling. The background sound is birds singing and water flowing. The light is bright then, so I don’t feel any depression at the beginning of the movie. Actually, the two young people are together in the car makes me think this may be a love movie.

The story goes very slow, and there is no background information about the two young people. They seems are homeless. This is a smart trick from the director because this setting can keep audiences curiosity.

Many scenes of water, the ocean and the lake. The story is boring at the beginning because it is all about the two homeless young people get nothing to do. The most surprise thing is the girl Milla is pregnant. The director tells nothing about this two young people’s relationship and even doesn’t mention Milla’s pregnancy at all. When Milla shows up her belly, then audiences know something about this two young people. So far, I think many people like me really want to know what happened to them and what will happen to them.

Then the scene is focused on the guy’s job that working on a ship. It’s not hard to guess what may happen to the guy. He died. It’s interesting that Milla doesn’t cry after her partner died. The scene that Milla lay on the bed in the dark room, she doesn’t yell out, she doesn’t cry, she just stays alone. She feels that her boyfriend is hugging her in the dark room. On her face actually shows that she is totally broken. Sometimes silence can express more sad emotions than music or shout out loudly. The director leaves some spaces for the audiences to image how sad Milla is at that time. I like this expression because different people may think differently. This is the best way to express the sadness.

During this situation. Milla should cry out or shout out to let her emotion come out, but she is quite all the time.  The clever trick is the director let the female single shout out loudly for her, Milla just stands there at listen. Then, she leaves quietly. In this way, I even feel more sad for her, and think she is really brave. The female singer’s song actually is how Milla wants to say. She just accepts what life have threw to her silently even without any complaint. However, there are many scenes that Milla sits alone and absence of her mind. I think this is how she expresses her sadness and tiredness. She is more tired than sad. Like she said at the end of the movie, “Mamy is tired.” This is also the first time she speaks her emotion out.The characters don’t have a lot of sentences, most of the time the scenes just shows how Milla lives. However, this actually is more powerful than words. The movie shows a social problem that youngth pregnancy, but it also shows how brave a girl can be after becoming a mother.


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