Marianne Métivier’s She Who Wears the Rain showcases a filmmaker on the rise. Visually and tonally, the 16-minute short often reminds of the 2010 gem Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, but the director ultimately peppers the narrative with various genre influences. It’s one of those special films where you want to know more about everybody involved.
Starring Amaryllis Tremblay as Agnès, She Who Wears the Rain explores a young woman’s grief. Early on, the protagonist cleans the home of her sick father, who’s not expected to survive the winter. Métivier creates a warm atmosphere with her color palette and character interactions, though death looms and rain pours ever so softly. As Agnès retreats into her subconscious, she’s confronted by a symbolic boar, a cancerous reminder of a specific time and place. She Who Wears the Rain shows how lucid dreaming engagement can help people cope with mental health issues.
Like any memorable dream, image association is crucial to Métivier’s cerebral narrative. Cinematographer Ariel Méthot composes fluid shots, with Tremblay staged front and center on the back of vehicle while Agnès is transported to a different realm, it seems, foreshadowed by a static shot of blowing trees. Meanwhile, the prominent sound design underlines the swirling thoughts in Agnès’ subconscious; she’s being pulled back to reality while further immersing herself into a REM construction. Heavy analysis aside, She Who Wears the Rain is clearly a beautiful-looking film, and Tremblay proves that she’s deserving of more film roles. But it’s the concepts that make She Who Wears the Rain so intriguing from sequence to sequence, especially when Agnès chooses to interact with a symbolic boar. In this realm, she can be vicious and cruel, if only to better appreciate the time she has left with her father in the real world.
As a filmmaker, Métivier makes her influences known but doesn’t stick to one specific aesthetic. An early bathroom scene reminds of so many indies about angst-ridden characters who simply want to get away. The middle sequences do indeed seem to cite the aforementioned Apichatpong Weerasethakul film, but that’s just a personal take based on my own image association. Meaning, Métivier’s premise can lead viewers down different paths given the lucid dream aspects. By the final act, the director pulls Agnès out, so to speak, allowing for a potent climax that’s less atmospheric and more reminiscent of an Ingmar Bergman drama about the human condition. The use of color is fascinating throughout She Who Wears the Rain, and becomes especially important during a pivotal late scene.
Tremblay doesn’t say much in She Who Wears the Rain, and she doesn’t need to. In a dream state or in real life, personal actions speak volumes, especially in terms of what one chooses not to do. When stress and grief take over the body, people may feel trapped or helpless, unsure how to move forward or how to address that wild boar that keeps appearing in dreams. Métivier’s She Who Wears the Rain is a visual stunner, but the final spoken words may be what resonates the most for viewers.
Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor. He’s written for RogerEbert.com, Fandor and Screen Rant, among other outlets.