"Sequins": A quiet tribute to friendship

It's rare to see a movie whose dramatic arc centers around embroidery, but Eléonore Faucher's lovely drama "Sequins" lets us find suspense in a tiny rip in an intricate veil, calmness in a needle gliding in and out of a taut piece of fabric and contentment in two women stitching quietly side by side. The film's beautiful stitchwork, made by Nadja Berruyer (and when's the last time you saw a film with an "embroidery by" credit?), is photographed as lovingly as any work of art; in one piece, the green and purple beads glitter like crystal waterlilies in the dim light.

The story takes place in a rural French town, the sort of place where everyone knows everyone's business. Claire (Lola Naymark), a pale beauty with a vivid tangle of red hair, is 17 and pregnant. She's a quiet girl who doesn't reveal too much emotion about her situation, except in a brief scene with a doctor. Asked if she wants to know the baby's sex, a single tear slides down her cheek. "Can you write it down for me?" she asks sadly, and tucks the note away.

A skilled stitcher, Claire quits her miserable supermarket job to go work for Madame Melikian (Ariane Ascaride), who does embroidery for couture houses in Paris. The elegant Madame is hiding her own pain; her son has recently died in an accident. The two women don't really discuss what's going on, but in the film's quiet 88 minutes, they form a rather fierce and very touching bond. The talented Faucher, in her first feature, lets her actors' faces tell the story, surrounding them with lovely light (Naymark's hair glows like a lamp in the darkness) and the insistent beauty of Michael Galasso's score. "Sequins" becomes a quiet tribute to friendship, and to the way that something torn can be made perfect again.

— Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 3.5 stars

Showtimes and trailer

"Sequins," with Lola Naymark, Ariane Ascaride, Marie Felix, Thomas Laroppe. Directed by Elonore Faucher, from a screenplay by Faucher and Galle Mac. 88 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Not rated; for mature audiences. Varsity, through Thursday.