Seaside (unrated) Julie Lopes-Curval. Over four seasons, Cayeux changes from a resort destination to an ordinary, even stifling, town where sorting decorative beach pebbles on a drab assembly line is the major industry and the central metaphor for the negative emotions caused by interconnected conflicts. Meandering among twelve residents, Seaside's episodic narrative reveals distressed, adrift individuals: Marie is enervated by her factory work and by her boyfriend Paul, a lackadaisical lifeguard. Paul's unstable mother gambles compulsively in the local casino, foolishly risking savings and home. Two ex-friends reconnect through sadness while a philandering, disenfranchised factory owner and his too-patient wife nourish their own pain. A fashion shoot on a pebble beach, kite flying and a shark report minimally divert attention in co-writer/director Julie Lopes-Curval's accomplished first feature. Slowly paced but astutely aware of the minutiae defining lives, Seaside never overwhelms with bombastic action but does impress with careful, subtle observation. In French with English subtitles. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday, January 30, through Sunday, February 1, in the Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University, 470 E. Lockwood Avenue. Call 314-968-7487 for more information. (Diane Carson)
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