Helmer Pierre-Alain Meier has fashioned here with co-scripters Lou Inglebert, Jacques Akchoti and Barbara Sobeck an intriguing road movie focusing on the shifting lives of complex characters. Proving himself adept at juggling difficult emotional elements, tyro helmer Pierre-Alain Meier applies considerable sobriety to the potentially explosive sexual drama "Thelma."

A drama that studies the after-effects caused by a person who is transgender: the jealousies, confusions and conflicts.

Zurich cabby Vincent (Tavernier vet Laurent Schilling) has enough troubles without Thelma (Pascale Ourbih). She immediately strikes Vincent as someone different (a character that would be right at home in Rainer Werner Fasbinder's films) and has just been dumped by her older lover, Pierre (Francois Germond).

Thelma feels deceived by Pierre, claiming that he promised her trips and more, and wants to exact revenge with Vincent's help by going to the man's Crete residence and demanding cash. Vincent appears at first to be the perfect sop for her schemes since he's somewhat rootless and finds the troubled femme alluring. (Schilling presents masterful shades of ambiguity and puzzlement.)

But after a trip across the Italian border in Pierre's stolen car, Vincent freaks out when discovering Thelma's he-she endowment. This is the first of three crises that Meier and cast handle deftly with understatement. His camera is a fluent, observant mid-range that, along with the road movie aspect, recalls early Wim Wenders.

Everything in the film works against Thelma becoming an easy object of concern or misplaced sympathy. Indeed, in rookie thesp Ourbih's courageous hands, she is downright obnoxious and infuriatingly unpredictable, placing Vincent in an increasingly difficult position.

Pic ends on an oddly weak coda, but thesping is sometimes extraordinary, with a low-key manner rendering brief emotional blowups all the more powerful.

Lensing and overall production are sharp, while Calexico's accordion music is an ideal on-the-road accompaniment.

Review written by Robert Koehler for Variety

Technical Info
Original Title Thelma
Original Film Language French
Countries of Production Switzerland, France, Greece
Type of Film Feature film
Year of Production 2001
Running Time 95 min. (5 Reels)
Lenght in meters 2'609 m
Format 35mm, color
Screen Ratio 1: 1,85
Speed 24 frames/second
Sound Dolby SRD surround Ex

Cast
Vincent Fleury.................................. Laurent Schilling
Thelma............................................ Pascale Ourbih
Fenia Gaitanides............................... Nathalia Capo d'Istria
Pierre Forster................................... François Germond
Adrienne Forster............................... Michèle Valley
The receptionist................................ Philippe Duclos
Véronique Fleury.............................. Joëlle Fretz
Thomas........................................... Ian Baldwin
The father-in-law.............................. Jacques Michel
The customs officer........................... Marco Calamandrei
The barman..................................... Filippo Bonacci
Eleni................................................ Silia Klontza
Yannis............................................. Constantin Karvelis
Crew
Screenplay by.................................. Jacques Akchoti
Lou Inglebert
Pierre-Alain Meier
Barbara Sobeck
Director...........................................

Pierre-Alain Meier
Music............................................... Calexico
Yiorgos Mangas
Director of Photography.................... Thomas Hardmeier
Camera Assistant............................. Andreas Schneuwly
Gaffer.............................................. Ernst Brunner
Best Boy.......................................... Blaise Bauquis
Sound Engineer................................ Eric Vaucher
Boom Operator................................. Jean-Luc Laborde
Production Coordinators.................... Filippo Bonacci
Elena Restaki
Sevi Morou
1st Assistant Director........................ Kamal Musale
2nd Assistant Director.......................

Marineta Kritikou
Production Designer.......................... Monika Bregger
Props Coordinator............................. Yorgos Tzanakis
Costume Designer............................ Géraldine Orinovski
Make-up.......................................... Valérie Ardity
Editor.............................................. Loredana Cristelli
Editor Assistant................................. Anita Vetterli
Sound Editor & Sound Mixer............... Jürg Von Allmen
Producers........................................ Robert Boner
Pierre-Alain Meier
Fenia Cossovitsa
Xavier Grin

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