Slalom

We decided to watch this movie as we are keen skiers. This is a ubiquitous contemporary sporting tale  of the kind we read about daily, centering on the abusive relationship between  a coach and his pupil, who he trains with carrot and stick to win gold. Here is Lyz (played by stunning newcomer Noée Abita) an ambitious 14-year-old who only wants to ski to win. Her impoverished mother is forced to leave her in the clutches of her determined trainer Fred (Jérémie Renier) who grooms her with sponsors’ gifts and favouritism. This unsurprisingly, turns into an abuse of her trust and dedication as Fred ruthlessly propels her towards fulfilling her dreams.

While most people will frame this as an example of master/pupil power relations, I nevertheless thought the director Charlène Favier was observing the lengths that someone who wishes to succeed might hang on in there at all costs. Brought up in Val d’Isere, where this film is set, I think she might know what she is talking about.

While the drama is (predictably) good, given the gruelling subject-matter, the film was let down by extremely poor skiing – the racing looked sluggish and the powder sequences was simply amateur. Similarly, I was unconvinced by several of the sporty scenes like the running and the fitness regimes. A shame really as it made the film less credible.

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