When we meet her, Paula’s got nothing, just a bag of clothes and a former lover’s cat. Paris is supposed to be romantic, but not in Jeune femme. Fresh from a breakup, the titular “young girl” finds herself jobless, homeless, and broke in an overpriced city. Not for long, admittedly. Paula, as played by Laetitia Dosch, is an impulsive trainwreck, the kind of overgrown child who’ll talk her way in and out of trouble within the same breath. Then as the escapades escalate, you start to wonder: am I appalled, impressed, or concerned with how much this all resonates?
The directorial debut of Léonor Serraille, Jeune femme scooped up the Camera d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, spotlighting a protagonist who survives poverty through sheer improvisation. By twisting the truth, Paula swiftly lands employment as a lingerie salesperson and part-time nanny. Mistaken by a stranger for a long-lost friend, the 31-year-old chancer plays along – and scores free accommodation as a reward. Later on, she admits, “I’m nostalgic for things I haven’t done yet.” In that sense, Jeune femmeshares parallels with Frances Ha – you know, if Frances Ha was French, downbeat, and concerned about hidden homelessness.