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The Artful Asphyxiation of Breathe

The Artful Asphyxiation of Breathe

Joséphine Japy, Lou de Laâge in Breathe

Breathtaking tensions run high in actress-turned-director Mélanie Laurent's French-language gem

Pictured: Josephine Japy and Lou de Laage in 'Breathe'

In Breathe, Melanie Laurent's second feature as director and co-writer (and a Queer Palm nominee at Cannes), Inglourious Basterds actress merges the bitchery of Heathers, the angsty grit of Thirteen, and the hungry discovery of Blue is the Warmest Color. Seventeen-year-old Charlie (Josephine Japy) is joyless and rudderless until hedonist Sarah (Lou de Laage) arrives to rock her blase world. But what starts as a whirlwind of a friendship--and, on Charlie's part at least, a wicked attraction--devolves into a tightening noose of manipulation and malice.

Capturing Charlie in isolating wide shots (casting her against the open sea or sprawling fields), Laurent proves she has the artful eye of a budding maestro, but her true talent lies in articulating the gnarled mechanics of symbiotic-turned-toxic bonds. Anyone who knows the pain of mixed messages, unrequited love, or even a little schoolgirl shade will connect to Laurent's achievement, which pinpoints the myriad ways that infatuation can leave you gasping for air.

Breathe is in select theaters. Watch the trailer below:

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