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By Mark Bell | March 16, 2013

A man (Jean-Christophe Di Mambro) at the beach (don’t think sunny and sandy, think gloomy, misty and rocky) burns a photo of himself with a woman holding a four-leaf clover. As he finishes the act, he finds a locket among the rocks, containing the picture of a woman. Back at the rental beach house, he finds an old photo of a couple on a swing, and recognizes the setting as being taken at the same house. Intrigued, he begins to take the steps to find out who the woman (Françoise Faucher) in the locket and photo is, and thus begins a romantic tale of healing.

Charles Alexandre Tisseyre’s short, Cloverleaf, is a silent film with no dialogue, so what things mean and how they connect rely strongly on the audience to decipher. Sure, the film leads you in certain directions strongly, but whether or not they resonate strongly depends entirely on you.

For me, it’s not hard to understand the loss of the man, and his need to find a new focus for his life, at least in the immediate future. The events his curiosity set off, however, become more than just a man trying to fill a space in his life; it’s about recognizing a kindred spirit, and hoping that healing comes from connection, even with a stranger.

And you could take it beyond that, if you wanted, running parallels between the woman’s past and the man’s present, and see a love affair of sorts across the seas of time. I’m sure there’s even more in this film than even what I engaged with, so credit is due the film for working dramatic ambiguity without feeling lazy or undefined. Again, what you get out of this is entirely your own, but the film aims you enough in certain directions that it would be hard to stray too far from the film’s core.

In the end, Cloverleaf is a sweet, gentle film. The minimalistic style of the musical score, coupled with the lack of dialogue, sets up the subtle tone. And for a film as grey and gloomy as its main location denotes, the film is not one where you feel overburdened by depressing imagery or needless dramatics. It’s a love story of sorts, and it’s a story of healing. Overall, though, it’s just beautiful.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

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  1. Charles Alexandre Tisseyre says:

    Thank you for the nice review! Cheers.

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