Melissa Leo’s “Francine,” from directors Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky, will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on February 13. Check out the new poster for the American-Canadian co-production. Leo stars as woman regaining her foothold in society after being released from prison. The security of temporary jobs proves just as elusive as the relationships she tries to build with the people in her new-found small town in North America. Her failure with human connection leads her to seek support from animals, with tragic consequences. More on this first feature narrative from Cassidy and Shatzky below (their doc “The Patron Saints” played Toronto 2011 and Rotterdam last month):
“Francine” focuses on the title figure during a brief chapter in her life. Oscar winner Melissa Leo conveys the longings and woes of the distressed protagonist with remarkable precision, delivering a performance of tremendous force. The narrative provides no psychological backstory, and yet we grow increasingly close to this fragile person, whose life does not have a clear path but rather consists of a series of emotional states. As the protagonist moves through the film’s impressive locations, her path through life is much like an orbiting satellite: detached, lonely and ultimately destined to crash.