France, Switzerland | 80 MINUTES | English, French | English subtitles
Pearl is Elsa Amiel’s directorial debut, and stars Julia Föry in her first role as Lea Pearl, a French bodybuilder. The film follows Lea and her trainer in the lead up to a bodybuilding competition where she will compete for the coveted title of Miss Heaven. The rules are strict, and her trainer keeps her nose to the grindstone. This is all put at risk when Lea’s ex (Arieh Worthalter) shows up with their six-year old son, Joseph (Vidal Arzoni)—a son that Lea never wanted.
Using smart, engaging cinematography, the film portrays both characters' desperation as they rush around the hotel where the contest takes place, weaving in and out of the bodybuilders preening in every corner, the little boy dwarfed by their colossal limbs. The actors' taut performances augment the controlled emotions surging just below the surface. In a world where every millimeter and every ounce is controlled, and every angle and sequin is scrutinised, Joseph comes in like an unpredictable whirlwind, upsetting Lea’s delicate balance between past and future.