THE BALCONETTES

A film by Noémie MERLANT

Cast : Noémie Merlant, Souheila Yacoub, Sanda Codreanu

2024 / comedy. horror / France / original title : LES FEMMES AU BALCON / Color / status : completed / French / long feature-film / International collections

As a heat wave brings a Marseille neighbourhood to the boil, three roommates gleefully meddle in the lives of their neighbours from their balcony. Until a late night drink turns into a bloody affair.

Written in collaboration with Céline Sciamma, Noémie Merlant’s follow-up to her Cannes 2020 debut is a brazen in-your-face-foray into genre. Sometimes gory, sometimes playful, always vengeful.

Press

“A delirious revenge comedy. Confrontational and audacious. A poisoned but delicious midnight snack of a second feature. A primal scream of a movie, a boisterous romp that redefines how female bodies are depicted. Rejects the male gaze by inviting the characters to reclaim its oppressive hyper-sexualization on their own terms. This film is an Almodóvar-florid sex farce, as you might glean from its manic energy and sweltering pastel colors, but it’s also 100 different things on top of that. Never runs out of surprises or lets convention get in the way of following its own bliss. The Balconettes” refuses to become a po-faced #MeToo drama that defines its characters by the same kind of threats they exist to defy. On the contrary, it leans into the tonal chaos of life on earth, creating an impressively layered genre mishmash that reflects the complex reality of how women are seen in the world, and how they see themselves in return.”

Indiewire

“A fierce comedy-horror. Strikes a universal, cathartic chord. Appealing to fans of Sciamma and particularly Julia Ducournau, with whose work this shares a distinct vibe. Rooting its feminist message in an increasingly chaotic, challenging narrative that is equal parts farce, fantasy and gorefest, - those who click with Merlant’s uncompromising style will enjoy the bracing ride.”

Screen

“A punk fable shatters #MeToo taboos. Exploring questions of coercion and consent with a healthy dose of blood and guts, The Balconettes entertains and energizes in equal measure.”

Variety

“Ghost story, body horror, feminist comedy. Noémie Merlant, familiar as a fine actress from Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, packs a good deal into her sophomore feature as director. Pedro Almodovar looms over all these shenanigans, which could be read as “Women on the Verge of Heat Exhaustion.”

Deadline

“A frenzied, heatstruck genre mashup. A kooky, cult-seeking comedy. A high-energy trio. The directorial energy being channeled here is close to that of early Pedro Almodóvar, as Merlant piles up saturated, hot-hued melodrama, garrulous female bonding and cheerful lashings of blood and sex.”

Variety

“A rowdy, richly imagined portrait of three ladies on fire. A splashy female-driven ensemble comedy that gradually morphs into a graphically gory, darkly funny, great feminist horror bloodbath. The film covers an ambitiously broad range of pulpy genres, comic registers and political messages. Merlant and her lively cast serve up an enjoyably fizzy spiked cocktail of bright hues and tangy flavours, all wrapped in a stylish package that falls somewhere between Pedro Almodovar and Julia Ducournau. Its theme of angry women fighting back against violent, entitled men feel particularly timely.”

THE FILM VERDICT

“The Balconettes is the kind of work Merlant is cut out to make: exuberant, funny, and bold, a real testament to the power of female friendship seen through farce and horror tropes. Merlant is a highly empathetic director, and with some help and guidance from Céline Sciamma––credited as collaborator on the script––she succeeds in doing feminism justice while continuously shifting between absurd and grotesque. Aesthetically, The Balconettes is an explosion of colors and textures that recall Almodóvar.”

The Film Stage

“A riotous black comedy. Timely. The central trio are incredibly vivacious and compelling.”

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