Dalva (2022)

  • Year: 2022
  • Released: 22 Mar 2023
  • Country: France, Belgium
  • Adwords: 14 wins & 13 nominations
  • IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt19768016/
  • Rotten Tomatoes: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dalva
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: French
  • MPA Rating: N/A
  • Genre: Drama
  • Runtime: 83 min
  • Writer: Jacques Akchoti, Bulle Decarpentries, Emmanuelle Nicot
  • Director: Emmanuelle Nicot
  • Cast: Zelda Samson, Alexis Manenti, Fanta Guirassy
  • Keywords:

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Dalva Movie Reviews

Absolute beginers

I’ve been following movies seriously for about 40 years and even longer casually – there are only three or four other cases I can remember of directors whose very first film was so free of mistakes – borderline masterpiece. In fact I can think of a fare amount of well known directors whose first movie was riddled with problems.

Emmanuelle Nicot movie Dalva – joins this very short list of directors that started their career with a blast. It’s a compact story told without a millimeter of excess using a very lean approach to cinema directing but doing it like a veteran of the trade. Most of these rare movie directors that started with a bang had one more thing to help them through – a rare acting performance and Emmanuelle Nicot got Zelda Samson whose list of credits has nothing but this film and still she carries the entire film on her shoulders with precision and force rarely found among her peers. And it’s not an easy role to play, on the contrary. It didn’t go without recognition as Zelda won the rising star award of Louis Roederer Foundation and Emmanuelle Nicot won the Fipresci award in the last Cannes festival, in the parallel sections. I’m not sure what the parallel sections stand for but I believe we all know what’s a rising star, and Zelda Samson has a star written all over her future if she keeps on this way.

It’s not an easy film to watch, but as far as difficult film matter goes this movie is it. Go see it if you get the chance.

An empowering film -don’t avoid it due to the difficult subject matter.

The subject matter of the film is surely the most horrendous type of abuse, yet it’s filmed in such a way that there is no excess, no unnecessary musical cues to break our hearts, sentimentality, or overly dramatised scenes.

It’s a film stripped bare of non-essentials, which gives it a kind of peaceful quality. The film is almost entirely carried by Zelda Samson, as Dalva, and she does it to perfection. Again, nothing to excess -no over-acting- the subject is dramatic enough on its own.

I found it disturbing, upsetting, but totally hypnotic, watching this young child discover what it’s like to be a child, to have friends, and learn that what happened TO her wasn’t her fault.

Emmanuelle Nicot has certainly made an impact with her first film. I hope she continues in this way, and she’ll surely have a wonderful career ahead. The same goes for her young star, Zelda Samson.

Congratulations to all involved!