The viewer sees a woman (Vicky Krieps) angrily flipping pairs of Polaroids laid out on a table. She is playing Concentration (a card game also known as Memory) with them, but actual memories of the events depicted on the photos appear to overwhelm her. She wants to start over. As the story behind the pictures unfolds, one sees two sides to it and is left wondering: did the woman leave her husband and children? Was she left by them? What really happened?

Mathieu Amalric is not only starring in two features at this year’s festival (The French Dispatch, Tralala), he also directed this psychological drama, which was chosen to be part of the new Cannes Première section. It is not his first venture behind the camera, still it’s not entirely clear what he hoped to accomplish here. The production consists of a muddled succession of contradictory retrospections, without ever engaging the audience’s interest.

Despite Serre Moi Fort being loosely based on a 2003 play called Je Reviens de Loin, it would not come as a surprise if this feature was written merely as a framework for Vicky Krieps to display her acting range. Some of her scenes are in French, some in German, she gets to sing – in English – and is given ample opportunity to laugh, shout, cry, play drunk and stare into space catatonically, all in the space of 97 minutes.

But not even the undisputed talents of the Luxembourgish actress manage to breathe life into this bloated clutter. There is absolutely no sensibility in either image or dialogue. 

Hold Me Tight wants to be a story about the pain of letting go and choosing not to, but it brings nothing to the table that Christopher Nolan’s Memento hasn’t already covered with a much more captivating narrative.


Selina Sondermann

Hold Me Tight (Serre Moi Fort) does not have a UK release date set.

For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.