What makes French cinema so unique is that they dare to go into themes, which movies from elsewhere might not even think about. I am not saying this theme was not taken up by any other movie makers. It is just that when the French do it, they are so bold and they go much deeper into it. La Naissence des Pieuvres, which is known as Water Lillies, rather than for the literal French translation, is quite an unique and different movie.
It is about 3 teenage girls who are just experiencing the calls of sexual attractions in them.
In one way this is a real teenage movie (nothing like the Hollywood ones, this is quite serious). We hardly see any adult in this movie, except for a couple of shots. It is all happening in the teenage world. Three girls and their lives around the swimming pool, where two of them practice Synchronised swimming, makes the movie. There is a teenage swimmer as well, making it like a quadrilateral love.
The eagerness for the first kiss and sex, and all the anxiety and excitement around it is very well told. And the relationship between two of these girls is really complex and is out for us to interpret in anyways. I guess, one girl really loves the other and would like to make it physical, but for the other it is all some kind of game where the silly physical things between them are just like in a rehearsal and she is really looking forwards to her first sex with a man. Or she is not sure at all about what she wants in sexuality, if she is lesbian or heterosexual.
It is also very good how these girls are connected to Synchronised swimming. Just like one of those beautiful scenes depict, this kind of sport looks so pleasing from the gallerry, but it requires an incredible amount of hardwork, under the water. The director seems to be just trying to tell us how difficult it is for women, young girls, to appear pretty when they are under so much pressure.
A very interesting film, with excellent performances by the teenage actors. Considering it is a first film, it is pretty good work from the director too.