France 2008, Feature film, 103' | Director Anke Hentschel | Screenplay Sylvie Verheyde | DoP Nicola Gaurin | Editor Christel Dewynter | Sound Olivier Dô Hùu, Roland Duboué, Dimitri Haulet, Sylvain Malbrant | Music Sheila, Daniel Guichard, Gérard Lenormand | Cast Léonora Barbara, Melissa Rodriguès, Karole Rocher, Benjamin Biolay, Guillaume Depardieu

In the Paris of 1976, the eleven-years-old Stella is growing up in a bar in a former working-class neighbourhood. Until now, her dealings with the world have been confined to her two-timing mother and lethargic father, who run the bar, and to the regular customers, who are local drop-outs seeking solace in drink and bar-room camaraderie. Unexpectedly, Stella gets a place at a middle-class high school, which she's not very enthusiastic about at first. She only makes one friend there, Gladys, the daughter of two Argentinian intellectuals, a friendship which arouses in Stella a love of literature and which helps her to survive her few trials of adversity she has to face en route out of childhood.

Director Sylvie Verheyde proves to be a dab hand at writing dialogue and telling a story: she also has an omnipresent bubbly-cute girl's voice give a detailed commentary from the off. Stella is a kind of blurred hyphen between two worlds in which she's not at ease. The meticulously crafted ambience and the music of the 1970s lend the film a nostalgic dimension. Stella was premiered at the 65th Venice International Film Festival. Although it was screened as an out-of-competition entry, it was a big hit with audiences, receiving the Lina Mangiacapre award and a special prize awarded by the Christopher D. Smithers Foundation. German Premiere


Having made a name for herself with short films, the director and screenwriter SYLVIE VERHEYDE directed Brother, her first full-length film, in 1997. It won the Cyril Collard Prize in 1998 with Emma de Caunes being awarded the Cesar Award for Most Promising Actress. Ms Verheyde's second feature film Princesses was to follow in 2000, again starring Emma de Caunes. Ms Verheyde has also written several screenplays and directed a number of TV productions. Sang Froid, which was made for Arte TV, won the prize for Best Direction at the La Rochelle International Film Festival in 2007. Stella is her third feature film.

Anke Hentschel
Feature Film
Feature Film Competition