Pietro Marcello, one of contemporary cinema’s most versatile talents, follows up his dramatic breakthrough Martin Eden with this enchanting period fable based on a beloved 1923 novella by Russian writer Alexander Grin.

Shortly after World War I, veteran Raphaël (Raphaël Thiery) returns home from the frontlines to find himself a widower, with his infant daughter placed in his arms to raise. Living alone with her father in rural Normandy, Juliette (Juliette Jouan) grows into a lonely young woman who is passionate about singing and music. She seeks refuge in the nearby woods, where she meets a witch who promises scarlet sails will one day take her away from her village. Reckoning with her future and swept away by a rakish young pilot (Louis Garrel) who literally falls from the sky, Juliette never stops believing in the witch’s prophecy.

Tracing Juliette’s journey throughout the 20 years of great invention between the world wars, Scarlet weaves together music and fantasy, history and folklore, to craft a magical realist fable of identity and emancipation. In his first film made in France, Marcello proves again he is as comfortable in the realm of folklore as he is in creative nonfiction, delicately interweaving realist drama, ethereal romance, and musical flights of fancy.

In French with English subtitles. Director: Pietro Marcello (France 2022) 103 min.

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