And now for the unusual selection for a Best Supporting Actress profile… It had to be foreign-language. It had to be unique and surprising. So I’m gonna write a bit about…
Roxane Duran, as Anna in The White Ribbon
Just to get something out of the way: in my opinion, The White Ribbon has the best ensemble of the year and probably the best child performances (as a group) I have ever seen in a movie, with ages from like 5 to 14! The best performance belongs to a boy, but considering we’re here to analyze achievements in Supporting Actress, I’ll mention one of the most moving female performances of the film…
Roxane Duran plays Anna, the Doctor’s daughter, a shy teenager, whose life hides more drama that we might’ve guessed at first. Her screentime is limited and she gets most attention in 2 important scenes for the character.
The first one is a minimalistic scene, a dialogue with her 5 year old brother at the kitchen table. Someone in town had died and the child does not understand what “death” means. So he keeps asking simple questions, one after the other, provoking rational, justified responses from her sister. It’s probably the best written scene in the film, due to its simplicity and how honest it feels. Behind this innocent dialogue is the truth about life and death and how all of us are really heading the same direction!
Each question gets more difficult for Anna and we soon realize that the dialogue is digging deep into her own past, revealing her mother’s death and how this drama still has an impact on her! Roxane’s acting is simple, natural, adequate and terrific! There wasn’t a second I didn’t believe she really is this well-intentioned, insecure girl living a traumatic life. Her eyes and the line-readings really tell us the story of the scene.
The other one is the incest scene (call it a SPOILER, but it isn’t really one, as this fact has no twist value for the story and it happens somewhere in the middle of the film). It’s a short scene, focused on the young boy catching his father touching Anna. Obviously, the boy does not understand and Anna is trying to protect him by reassuring him, with her trembling voice, that everything is fine and he must go back to sleep! It’s an uncomfortable scene, well acted and respectfully shot!
The screenplay doesn’t allow us to find out what happened to Anna in the end… If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I mean. But in just a couple of scenes, Roxane Duran manages to give a very touching performance which perfectly fits this acting group of enormous talent. [unfortunately, not even imdb shows her proper respect, as she’s not even mentioned in the list of actors; too bad].
[scroll down for Marion in Public Enemies]