The Girl with the Bracelet

Nestled on Curzon Home Cinema is a frosty little gem from France, about a teenage girl on trial.

It’s really about the effect this wreaks on her family. The bracelet of the title seems obvious at first – an ankle tag ensuring she doesn’t skip town while she’s still in the family home, living as normal a bourgeois life as possible, somewhere near Nantes.

The girl’s father is the excellent Roschdy Zem and her mum is a physician, played by Chiara Mastroianni. Dad seems more concerned than Mum, more involved and more worried about the optics. Meanwhile Melissa Guers is most impressive as, 18-year-old Lise, the girl in the dock, inscrutable and unrepentant, determined not to react how we, and the rest of society, might expect her to.

Is she guilty of a terrible crime? It is hard to tell and I wouldn’t want to be on the jury. Except we all are, deciding, judging, guessing.

It’s a film that gently looks at generational differences and questions moral certainties, about attitudes towards parenting, sex, peer groups and family, and director Stephane Demoustier remains clinically detached for most of the time, with occasional cracks of emotion. There’s a gripping, glacial mystery to it, with constant yet tiny shifts of tone and angle giving us clues, or leading us nowhere. Very finely wrought, like a bracelet.