Marie Baie des Anges

Director: Manuel Pradal
Screenwriters: Manuel Pradal

Institute History


Five years in the making and filmed on a shoestring, Manuel Pradal’s revelatory feature debut transcends its origins. Marie Baie des Anges is full of a cinematic sophistication that bubbles to the surface in an unending string of extraordinary sequences. Shot against the shimmering, sun-drenched backdrop of the French Riviera, Pradal sets his sights on a group of French street adolescents. They steal and live from moment to moment. Orphans? We never know, but there are no parents or families anywhere. Marie (Vahina Gioconte), a pubescent Bardot look-alike, no more than fifteen, struts through their world like an adult, carrying herself like someone for whom life holds no secrets. She turns the heads of U.S. sailors on shore leave and mesmerizes them. They feed and entertain her, she enjoys the good time: languid swims followed by champagne evenings.

She spars with other street-bound free spirits. She and Orso, sullen and quiet, a petty thief and as streetwise as she is, escape into an idyll of love. But lovers can never escape the world forever. In a stunning denouement, Pradal brings the curtain down on their attempt to find eternity. The world of Marie Baie des Anges overflows with ideas, emotions, images, scenes, scraps of life. It is pure poetry, Rimbaud and Kerouac transcribed onto celluloid, a breathless film for the nineties . . .and surely a star, Vahina Gioconte, and her director are born. This is a stunning piece of work.

Manuel Pradal, Director
Manuel Pradal was born in Montpellier, France, in 1968. He graduated from the film school FEMIS-IDHEC. His graduation film, Canti, was selected for the Prospects section at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991. Marie baie des anges is his first feature film.

— Piers Handling, Toronto Film Festival

Screening Details


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