Film Review: ‘The Sower’

  • Variety
Film Review: ‘The Sower’
A different version of “The Sower,” Marine Francen’s poised and petite freshman feature, might have included the extended, rather remarkable story behind its literary source. Aged 84, former village schoolteacher Violette Ailhaud wrote her autobiographical short story “L’homme semence” in 1919, passing it to an attorney with clear instructions that it be given to her eldest female descendant in 1952, a full century after the events it documents; a curious, bittersweet tale of lost innocence and sexual conspiracy in a community of women, it remained in the family for half a century before being published, to steadily building acclaim, in 2006. Some manner of film adaptation was inevitable. Francen’s, however, honors Ailhaud by telling only the story she wrote, albeit with subtly modernized language and aesthetics, underlining its enduringly provocative gender politics in the process.

The resulting film is so delicately wrought and exquisitely visualized that the harsher, eerier details of
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