Award winning actor turned director Sandrine Kiberlain feature film debut is set in Paris, summer 1942 where Irene, played by Rebecca Marder, 2023 César for Best Female Newcomer nominated for her performance), is a vibrant 19-year-old aspiring actress without a care in the world. She is honing her passion for the theater, rehearsing for the entrance exam to the coveted Conservatory, making new friends and discovering love, without realizing that time is running out in Nazi-occupied France, as her close-knit family is watching. In turns enchanting and devastating, Ms. Kiberlain’s drama, which she also wrote, is not a traditional Holocaust narrative, but a unique coming-of-age tale about the freedoms of youth amidst a changing world, anchored by a star-making performance by Ms. Marder “which more than delivers on the luminous promise of the English title” (Screen Daily). Partly inspired by Ms. Kiberlain’s own family story, the film shows the dangers of complacency in the face of fascism, as well as moments of beauty that are possible even under the hardest of circumstances. Director Sandrine Kiberlain and Actor Rebecca Marder joins us for a conversation on the relevance of a story about isms – authoritarianism, fascism, anti-semitism, collaborating as director / actor and actor and finding the right balance tonally in a story that is guardedly optimistic about the aspirations of a young women as her world comes face-to-face with genocide.
Best Female Newcomer – 2023 César Nomination (Rebecca Marder)
Official Selection – Cannes Film Festival’s Critics Week
Winner – Best Screenplay – Torino Film Festival
About the filmmaker – One of France’s most prolific and versatile French stars, Sandrine Kiberlain came to prominence with her Most Promising Actress César-winning performance in Laetitia Masson’s To Have or Not, and has since worked with many of France’s top directors including Alain Resnais (Life of Riley), Jacques Audiard (A Self-Made Hero), Benoît Jacquot (Seventh Heaven), André Téchiné (Being 17), Claude Miller (Betty Fisher and Other Stories), Stéphane Brizé (Mademoiselle Chambon, Another World), Maïwen (Polisse) and Cédric Jimenez (November). She has received nine César nominations and won two César Awards. A RADIANT GIRL marks her feature debut as a writer-director.
About the Actor – Rebecca Marder is a former member of France’s legendary classical theater troupe La Comédie Française where she was admitted at the age of 20. Ms. Marder was selected for the César Academy’s annual “Revelations” list of rising stars leading up to the nomination. She will next be seen as one of the leads in François Ozon’s new film The Crime is Mine opposite Isabelle Huppert.
“There’s plenty to engage in A Radiant Girl, not least a performance by Rebecca Marder which more than delivers on the luminous promise of the English title.” – Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily
“Between Marder’s exquisite performance and Kiberlain’s powerful yet subdued storytelling, radiant is the perfect word to summarise the writer-director’s feature debut.” – Andrew Murray, The Upcoming
“Kiberlain presents an adeptly conceived character portrait contained in just the right way to remain chillingly effective and memorable.” – Nicholas Bell, Ion Cinema
“Marder does indeed live up to the film’s title as the infectiously vivacious Irene, and “A Radiant Girl” is laced with enlivening bursts of creativity…. Making the most of a moment isn’t only a skill of Kiberlain’s, but a means of survival in “A Radiant Girl” when it’s clear there’s no assurances of how long it’ll last.” – Stephen Saito, The Moveable Fest
Rebecca Marder is marvelous in the leading role of Irene and delivers a star-making performance in A Radiant Girl.” – Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies
“A masterfully assembled coming-of-age that falls in love, enchants, unsettles, and breaks your heart.” – Ricardo Gallegos, La Estatuilla
“A Radiant Girl offers a chilling look at fascism’s accumulating evil in a way that lulls its audience into a sense of complacency — a pointed mirroring — and then pierces right straight through the heart when it’s least expected.” – Matthew Lucas, In Review Online