„Les chenilles“/ press

Press reviews for „Les chenilles“ by Michelle Keserwany and Noel Keserwany.

„More gentle is Les Chenilles (Michelle Keserwany, Noel Keserwany), in which two female waitresses working and living in France form a bond. It’s an ode to female empowerment and friendship that is delicate yet powerful. „
section overview by Laurence Boyce for cineuropa.org

„[..] Les Chenilles (The Caterpillars) starts with the rather odd fact that the best temperature for silkworms is between a woman’s breasts. This opens up a rumination on the gendered expectations of female labour by drawing connections between the silk road, colonialism and the French-Lebanese connection, providing a touching portrait of female solidarity in the process.“
review by Redmond Bacon for directorsnotes.com

„Heartfelt in its sentiment and sincere in its intentions, Les chenilles is an emotionally charged, inventively told tale of solidarity, trauma, and female bonding, all realised with confidence and thoughtfulness. Nearly every frame of the film drips with aching beauty, reflecting the protagonists’ loss and the hope they have found with one another. Les chenilles is a worthy winner.“
review by Joseph Fahim for middleeasteye.net

„Two women from different parts of The Levant find themselves thrown together in a French café in Michelle and Noel Keserwany’s Les Chenilles, which was awarded the Golden Bear for Best Short Film in Berlin and became the festival’s candidate for the 2023 European Film Awards. The film’s narrative thrust – a tactile tale of a burgeoning female friendship and personal trauma – is entwined with a more abstract but striking meditation on historical exploitation and its echoes into the contemporary day. A blend of restrained drama, almost essayistic connections between past and present, and some creative flourishes, it’s a complex and energising film worthy of award. The two women in question are Sarah (director, Noel Keserwany), who has recently moved to Lyon and Asma (Masa Zaher), who has lived there for several years already. “She’s a butterfly – she won’t last ten days,” claims Asma to one of their co-workers, seeing in Sarah and fragility that has followed her from the upheavals of her homeland. However, Sarah also understands the effect that Asma’s life has had on her – the walls she has built to protect herself and patiently goes about navigating them. When Asma is locked out of her apartment for the night, Sarah walks the streets with her and the threads that bind them knit evocatively together. Threads also play a role in the historical analogues that both women observe regarding the effects that the silk road has had on their region and their lives. From the title translating to ‘caterpillars’ – in reference to the silkworms.“
review by Ben Nicholson for The Film Verdict

„Anders, aber ebenso ausweglos wirkt Michelle und Noel Keserwanys LES CHENILLES, in dem sich zwei Frauen aus dem Levante (vermutlich hier Syrien und Libanon) im französischen Exil als Oberkellnerin und neu Eingelernte kennenlernen, sich aneinander reiben – und dann doch annähern, immer mit der großen kolonialen Last und den Kriegs- und Prekariatstraumata im Nacken.“
review by Marie Ketzscher for Berliner Filmfestivals

Les Chenilles (Michelle & Noel Kaswewany, 2023, above) is very much a Lebanese film in spirit and attitude. A rousing, if overlong, tale of female solidarity amongst Lebanese expats in Lyon, it’s nonetheless classified in the programme as French.“
review by Fedor Tot for journeyintocinema.com

„The shorts, which are usually filled with great MENA titles, this year feature stories from the Levant, but produced in Europe. […] As well as the French backed Les chenilles by Michelle Keserwany, Noel Keserwany. This film’s synopsis reads: ‚Two women meet as waitresses and tentatively become friends. They are both from the Levant and are now living in exile in France. A film about the historical, geographical and economic impact of silk production, about exploitation and female solidarity.'“
mention on MIME

Les chenilles by Michelle Keserwany interweaves fiction-film elements with digressions into the history of silk production. The film takes the silkworms of the title as a departure point to connect Lyon with the Levante and the present with the past, thus opening up a conversation about exploitation, trauma and solidarity. At the same time, it paints a very beautiful portrait of a female friendship in exile.“
interview with Anna Henckel-Donnersmarck for the Berlinale website

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