Synopsis by Andrea LeVasseur
French filmmaker Anne-Sophie Birot makes her writing and directing debut with the coming-of-age drama Les Filles Ne Savent Pas Nager, given the unfortunate English title Girls Can't Swim. Every year, Gwen (Isild Le Besco) meets up with her best friend Lise (Karen Alyx) for a summer on the beach in Brittany. Since Gwen has grown into a reckless teenager and her parents are experiencing financial problems, this year is decidedly different. She develops an interest in sex, starts dating Frédo (Julien Cottereau), and looks for other boys to fool around with. Her dad, Alain (Pascal Elso), sells his boat, her mom, Céline (Pascale Bussières), starts working to support the family, and, worst of all, Lise doesn't come to the beach. Meanwhile, back in the city, Lise finds out her absent father has died, which causes much grief to her mother (Marie Rivière) and older sisters (Yelda Reynaud and Sandrine Blancke). Having never met her father and wanting to escape her family's trauma, she travels by herself to Brittany. Without telling anyone what's bothering her, Lise is pensive and brooding while Gwen is thirsty for adventure, leading to a major fight between the two girls. With Gwen running around on her own and Céline at work, Lise and Alain are left to form an unlikely friendship, which takes a dark turn and leads to a tragic conclusion. Girls Can't Swim premiered at the 2000 Montreal Film Festival.
beach-house, coming-of-age, death-in-family, friendship, parent/child-relationship, sexual-awakening, summer-vacation, sex