TIFF Review: The Mad Women’s Ball is an Emotionally Shattering Period Piece From Mélanie Laurent

TIFF Review: The Mad Women’s Ball is an Emotionally Shattering Period Piece From Mélanie Laurent
With the TIFF world premiere The Mad Women’s Ball (Le Bal des folles), Mélanie Laurent proves again to be an equal force in front of and behind the camera. There are the deeply memorable performances in Inglourious Basterds, Le Concert, Beginners, Enemy, and Alexandre Aja’s Oxygen. She also released a lovely album, En t’attendant, in 2011; the title track features one of the most positively glorious screams ever recorded. In the last decade, Laurent has directed six films—2011’s The Adopted, 2014’s Breathe, 2015’s Tomorrow (co-helmed with Cyril Dion), 2017’s Diving, 2018’s Galveston, and now The Mad Women’s Ball. Her latest is without question her most ambitious, finest film.

The Mad Women’s Ball is an inspired spin on a familiar trope—the individual institutionalized against her will. Two elements elevate this material, from a novel by Victoria Mas (about which more here). First is the setting: Paris 1885. The
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