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Fanmi (2022)

Sometimes we become so obsessed with our own lives that we struggle to see the hardships that others in our life face. Martine (Marie-Evelyn Lessard) is at that place in her life, and when her mother, Monique (Mireille Metellus), comes to visit her in Montreal, she fails to see the real reason why. As the two struggle to get on the same page, one thing ultimately comes to light, Fanmi (family) is the most important thing. Hopefully it’s not too late for the mother and daughter to find their footing and rekindle a beautiful relationship, but only time will tell.

The casting of Fanmi is simply impeccable. To be able to find two actors that are so aesthetically similar is difficult, but to find ones that are capable of presenting similar emotions, truly feed off of one another like mother and daughter, and drive a narrative forward is far more so. Yet, this team managed to find a duo of incredibly talented individuals that are capable of doing all of the above (and the way in which they found them is even more incredible–just listen to my interview with the writer and directors), and they bring Fanmi to life brilliantly. Obviously, the first thing viewers will notice, before anything else plays out, is the fact that Lessard and Metellus look so similar. This allows viewers to accept just about everything else going forward, even if it ends up being less than adequate.

With Fanmi, however, that is never the case. Every moment is equally beautiful, and that comes primarily as a result of the actors. The writing is simple enough that everyone is able to appreciate what is occurring throughout the course of the film, but it’s up to Lessard and Metellus to convey emotion effectively throughout, and they do just that. While the film begins in a less-than-emotional fashion (at least it’s not emotional in the way that many might expect), there is always the understanding that something is hidden beneath the surface, that something far more emotional lingers just around the corner. Again, it’s the acting that allows these sentiments to be realized, and viewers are pulled into Martine and Monique’s orbit quickly and effectively. Much like the storyline, the acting is done so simply that it lends itself to being incredibly accessible and believable.

What makes Fanmi so powerful is the realistic nature of every single aspect of the film. Simplicity can sometimes sound like an insult, like the product doesn’t contain enough depth–but that’s certainly not the case with Fanmi. It’s simple in the way that it represents real life without any strange ploys or twists that might be difficult to comprehend or relate to. Writer Carmine Pierre-Dufour creates scenarios that look just like the world in which we all live, the one in which we all struggle–and Pierre-Dufour’s ability to pull bits and pieces from the real world in such a way is riveting and appealing to all.

So much beauty exists throughout Fanmi. From the acting to the real-world situations (ones that each and every one of us can understand), Fanmi is all that it needs to be in order to reach viewers on a deeply emotional level. Again, simplicity is the key to Fanmi’s success–and that simplicity shines so brightly throughout the course of the entire film.

Directed by Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers & Carmine Pierre-Dufour.

Written by Carmine Pierre-Dufour.

Starring Marie-Evelyn Lessard & Mireille Metellus.




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