TELLURIDE, Colo. -- The new film “Ginger and Rosa” by English filmmaker Sally Potter screened Friday night at the Telluride Film Festival high in the mountains of Colorado. A tale drawn in no small part from Potter’s own life, the movie follows two young girls through a coming-of-age story set against the early ‘60s backdrop of nuclear disarmament protests and the Cuban missile crisis. With stirring performances by relative veteran Elle Fanning and newcomer Alice Englert, the film is on the fall festival circuit in search of U.S. distribution.
Their mothers met in the hospital during childbirth, and Ginger (Fanning) and Rosa (Englert) have grown up together. Now teenagers on the cusp of maturity, the two become part of the emerging anti-nuclear protest movement. The relationship between Ginger’s parents (Christina Hendricks and Allesandro Nivola) is strained, with her father’s staunch activism at odds with the demands of home life even as a trio of family friends (Annette Bening, Oliver Platt and Timothy Spall) encourage Rosa’s own interest in the protest movement. When Ginger’s father begins an affair with Rosa, all their worlds crumble.
Potter is still best known for her 1992 film “Orlando,” which featured a breakthrough role for Tilda Swinton. Since then, some of her other films, such as 2004’s “Yes,” have feature abstracted narratives, but in “Ginger and Rosa” Potter tells a relatively straightforward story in a relatively straightforward way. The emotionally rich performances by Fanning and Englert (the daughter of director Jane Campion in her first significant screen role) root the film.
Edited by Anders Refn, father of “Drive” director Nicholas Winding Refn, and shot by cinematographer Robbie Ryan, who regularly works with director Andrea Arnold, “Ginger and Rosa” will also screen at the Toronto International Film Festival, which opens next Thursday
Speaking by phone earlier this week, Potter said that as audiences leave the film: “I would love them to be talking about love and politics.”
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