French pop star Claire Pommet makes her acting debut as a clever and ambitious non-binary person eager to make their mark, in director Héléna Klotz’s riveting portrait of self-possession and confidence.
Spirit of Ecstasy
Eleven years after her stirring feature debut, Atomic Age, Héléna Klotz returns with a brisk and unique character study of Jeanne Francoeur, a young non-binary person from a long line of gendarmes. Jeanne (French pop star Claire Pommet, striking in her first role) lives on a military base with an abrasive father, forced to care for their younger siblings while dreaming of breaking out of the family’s milieu by becoming a high-powered financial analyst.
Without an affluent professional network or an education at an elite university, Jeanne faces an uphill path to becoming a “quant.” However, Jeanne takes advantage of an entry-level internship, biding their time and closely observing the slick and shark-like boss (Sofiane Zermani). When Jeanne spots a mistake in the code by one of the well-connected full-time analysts, the boss takes notice and offers to mentor Jeanne into the business.
At home, Jeanne navigates the derision of their father and the return of an old love, who left for military service after their upsetting first sexual encounter. In Spirit of Ecstasy, Klotz crafts a singular protagonist, unlike any in recent memory. Jeanne’s laser-like brilliance and ambition do not add up to coldness, but rather an unerring self-possession and confidence in who they are and what they can achieve.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival