Move Your Body !

Film. It’s a full immersion on the feminine bodybuilding world. A intriguing and colorful first movie, signed Elsa Amiel and interpreted by the surprising champion Julia Föry.

By Antoine Le Fur

Léa Pearl has an advantage : her body. It’s even his work tools. Professional body-builder, she devotes itself to daily training without which she wouldn’t be the athlete she has become. While she gets ready to contribute for the prestigious title of Miss Heaven, she sees her ex-husband Ben, with her son Joseph, who she hasn’t seen for four years.

On her first movie, Baby Face Nelson (2006), freely inspired by the italian boxer Tiberio Mitri’s life, Elsa Amiel was interested by the path of a deprived champion. With Pearl, she continues her reflexion work on the body. The rings are over, make way for the Bodybuilding competitions and their procession of giant with bodies bronzing and molded in spangled underwear. The movie is focus on the feminine bodybuilding that cinema had rarely revealed. More glamourous ? Less grotesque ? It is up to the viewer to make up his mind about this film between fiction and documentary.

Since the first plans, we understand that the filmmaker worked on the subject. To prepared Pearl, Elsa Amiel has frequent bodybuilding competitions, observes this funny athlete sometimes seen as carny folk. It’s seems like we look at a report. Léa Pearl – that the camera is going to follow – is interpreted by the real Julia Föry, which makes here her first steps on cinema. She’s making pumps, takes some protein, she makes pumps again, paints her body of a brown liquid (the tan), makes up a little with trowel…. We discover her surrealist muscles, worthy of Conan the Barbarian, but Elsa Amiel avoids giving these women to look like monsters. Her approach can be bring to one of an anthropologist and it’s one of the principal qualities of the film. He manages to adopt the necessary distance from his object (as shows it this extract).

Between the walls

Likewise the fictional part outweighs the expectations of the viewer. Selfish mother, putting her “art” before her own son, Lea Pearl isn’t a character whose maternal instinct will be redemption. This family cell is disrupting the order of things. This of bodybuilder living enclosed on a continental hostel the time of their competition. The filmmaker directed this closed sessions, reinventing by the way this space so special that is the hotel in the cinema. Excepted few scenes on Ben’s car, the ex-husband played by the belgium Arieh Worthhalter (Girl, The Anarchists…), the movie takes fully place in this confined place, halfway between the colourful universe of the palace imagined by Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel and the sinister and very geometric Overlook Hotel in Shining.

But above all, Pearl puts forward talented comedians. In sports coach on the return, the British Peter Mullan (My Name is Joe, Miss Julie) is stunning with intensity. And there is, of course, Julia Föry, real bodybuilder and neo-actress, that we’re surprised she never made a movie. Pearl should change the situation. From the podiums to the trays, there’s only one step and we hope she does it again.