Escaping from the black hole of a smartphone is difficult, if not impossible. And even harder if we are waiting for a phone call that might change our life forever. Nonetheless Ms Liliane has to pay attention to her pupils as if it was a normal day. A normal day in which, as usual, her pupil Mathieu does not pay attention and tries to break the calm of her classroom.
Director Juna Chif invites us to travel back in time into the normality and peace of a common primary school classroom. With smooth and pale colours, together with a subtle contrast between the natural light of our normality and shadows of our fears, the spectator immerses into a calm, tender story. Ms Liliane’s expressions are often shown on the screen and we soon realize that the story might not go as we expect: sadness, fear, loss, concern.
One of the most interesting parts of this short film is that from almost the first minute the audience perceives that the quietness of the scenes is somehow unreal; an uneasy sensation fills the air.
Sometimes a faster development of the events is missing. The slow development of the plot creates on one hand a subtle intrigue and curiosity; meanwhile on the other hand such stillness could lose the interest of the viewer.
The most important strength of ‘Ms Liliane’ can be found in the feelings it triggers. The director approaches a well-known topic from the point of view of children. A naïve, fresh look that makes the spectator rethink the problems of adulthood. The lack of positivity in some life experiences might make the burden we carry on our shoulders too heavy to carry. Along the film we are somehow told not to underestimate children…even from little troublemakers we can learn a life lesson.
At the end, despite everything, they are just a ray of hope.
author: Laura Danis