Jumbo, dir. Zoé Wittock France / Belgium / Luxembourg 2020, 93 min.,
Jeanne (Noémie Merlant) lives at home with her bartender mother and works the graveyard shift as a cleaner at an amusement park. Her mother wants her shy young daughter to meet a man, but Jeanne prefers to stay in her bedroom and make miniature versions of theme park rides. After she begins spending time alone with an alluring new Tilt-A-Whirl at the fairground, she finds herself seduced by ‘his’ red lights, smooth chrome and oily hydraulics – and concludes that the thrilling new relationship she wants to pursue is with the ride she calls Jumbo.
Writer-director Zoé Wittock brings gleeful energy, buoyant humour and surrealistic style to this strange yet unexpectedly touching girl-meets-machine love story. Merlant (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) is brilliant as the woman who only has eyes for her gleaming new ride, drawing us into her world of self-discovery, and Thomas Buelens’ cinematography perfectly captures both the exhilaration of a love affair and the thrill of a night, or more, at the fairground.
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