2020 AFI Fest
Written and directed by Zoé Wittock, the French language Jumbo (2020) is likely the most unusual dramatic film screening at this year’s virtual AFI Fest. With elements of fantasy and romantic comedy, it tells the story of a young woman, Jeanne (Noémie Merlant). Not accepted by her peers, she embarks on an unconventional romance at the carnival where she works.
As to be expected, her mother Margarette (Emmanuelle Bercot) doesn’t approve of or even comprehend the relationship. There’s a chance she’ll come around but what’s most important is that Jeanne accepts herself without apology.
Even though the story is absurd, the acting is convincing. The director and production designer take full advantage of the carnival setting. By the end, even skeptics will be rooting for Jeanne and her one true love. Fans of sci-fi classics like Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) will appreciate how Jumbo’s metallic hero is brought to life.
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