Wednesday, April 04, 2007

La Tourneuse de Pages (The Page Turner)

This is the fifth film by Denis Dercourt who not only directed but also co-wrote the screenplay. He is well known for telling stories about the world of classical music and this one tells a story around pianos…a girl that plays the piano and stops playing, a great pianist and a young boy learning to play the piano. Sounds flat? Well, it is not.

This is a very nervous racking psychological thriller that keeps you wondering what’s going to happen next… and if you think you guessed, think again because I bet you that your guess is wrong. But since the very beginning you know what is going to happen and in the end it happens! Sounds confusing? It is not. This is simple. Is a story about revenge and you know it. What gets you is how and when the revenge is going to happen, as it’s built very patiently, step-by-step, slowly but surely.

Magnificent performances by lead actresses especially Deborah François, who was the lead in L’Enfant and here, plays Mélanie. She gives an impressive performance with very little dialogue; she’s all about expressing everything that’s happening within her. Her character and her performance make this movie icing cold. Catherine Frot plays Ariane the great concert pianist that plays in a trio but feels insecure after a car accident and I cannot expand more about her performance without spoiling the plot to those that have not seen this movie, suffice to say that she was nominated for a 2007 César as best actress.

This is a French movie that has a beginning and a clear end, so I assumed that it was for all audiences, but it is not. After reading some viewers comments I realized that some find it strange, did not get the end or start to imagine a complicated plot. This is a very simple plot and within this simplicity lays the unsettling feeling that captures the viewer. So perhaps you have to like French cinema to grasp the greatness of the story. Still, I invite you readers to watch this excellent thriller and maybe some will let me know what they think.

One last comment, Dercourt work is compared to Chabrol by some French critics. I have seen a few of Chabrol’s movies and my impression is that this movie does not feel nor look like Chabrol’s work… but then, who am I to disagree with the critics??

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