Mona Achache

Mona Achache. Based on the novel The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

Renée Michel: Josiane Balasko
Paloma Josse: Garance Le Guillermic
Kakuro Ozu: Togo Igawa
Solange Josse: Anne Brochet

Best Director and FRIPESCI
Prize – Cairo International Film Festival

Comedy, Drama

NeoClassics Films

PRODUCTION France, 2009
RATING Not Rated
GAUGE 35mm, DCP, Blu-Ray, DVD


“At times “The Hedgehog” suggests a Gallic “Harold and Maude,” with an intellectual gloss as it celebrates the life force passed from an older generation to a younger. But its concept of vitality isn’t the popular cliché of kicking up your heels, breathing deeply and gorging on ice cream. It is an aesthete’s ideal of pursuing moments of ecstatic perfection in art and companionship.”
Stephen Holden, The New York Times.

Nimbly adapted from Muriel Barbery’s 2006 international best seller, The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Mona Achache’s first film follows two parallel storylines: one featuring a morbid little girl, the other a mysterious middle-aged widow. Scrawny, bespectacled, and highly intelligent 11-yearold Paloma is disgusted by the futility of her bourgeois existence and plans to kill herself on her next birthday—a scheme announced directly into the Hi-8 camcorder she’s borrowed from her government-minister dad. When not recording her glum observations, the pre-teen films Renée Michel, the concierge of the luxury Left Bank apartment building where Paloma and her family live. Mme Michel’s bibliophilia and knowledge of Japanese cinema are interests she keeps to herself, for, as she says, “no one wants a pretentious janitor.” Yet when a new resident, the elegant Mr. Ozu, begins to woo her, Mme Michel lets down her guard, forming deep bonds not only with him but also Paloma. Veteran actor-writer-director Balasko, in frumped-up costuming and makeup, gives a remarkable performance. Viewers will not soon forget the image of her sitting at her kitchen table, reading Tolstoy and nibbling on dark chocolate with a cat in her lap.



The Tournées Festival
972 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10075

Phone 212 439 1451
Fax 212 439 1455

E-mail tourneesfestival@facecouncil.org © FACE