Cold Showers | Chicago Reader

Cold Showers

Judo rarely figures in serious movies, but together the martial arts are the third most popular sport in France, according to director Antony Cordier, an enthusiast. His working-class hero, Mickael (first-time actor Johan Libereau), is a high school competitor challenged to drop weight quickly so that he can replace a smaller, injured teammate in an important tournament. Sacrifice isn't new to Mickael, as his bohemian parents are always scrimping, but he faces distractions. The biggest is the sexy girlfriend (Salome Stevenin) he edges into a three-way with a rich pal, in a scene pretentiously choreographed as if it were a judo match. Struggle and self-knowledge are the themes here, but we realize long before Mickael does that much of his suffering is self-inflicted. In French with subtitles.

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