Under the Sand
Happy couple. Jean and Marie (Cremer and Rampling) begin their fateful holiday...
Sous le Sable

dir-scr Francois Ozon
with Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Jacques Nolot, Alexandra Stewart, Pierre Vernier, Andree Tainsy
release UK 20.Apr.01
00/France 1h35
4 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E

Ozon continues his varied filmmaking career (Sitcom, Water Drops on Burning Rocks) with this sensitive, somewhat tricky examination of grief. A very happy couple in their 50s, Marie and Jean (Rampling and Cremer) head off to the beach on holiday. On the first day Jean disappears while swimming, and Marie is left to get on with her life, even though his body is never found and she can't convince herself that he's actually dead. In fact, she imagines he's still living with her, which makes conversations with friends very difficult, not to mention a tentative romance with a new man (Nolot).

Rampling gives a transparent performance as a woman who can't accept the fact that her life has irrevocably changed. As she interacts with people around her--and with the imagined presence of Jean back home--we get far into her mind, seeing her denial and frustration, the fact that she indeed knows the truth but is simply unwilling to accept it and move on. It's such a remarkably insightful film that it very nearly takes the breath away several times. And Ozon miraculously makes sure it avoids being maudlin or depressing, throwing in tidbits of earthy grittiness and humour just when we need them. Interestingly, this real-life approach makes the film feel rather slight and weightless, which is very strange, since it's dealing with such intense human themes. Fascinating and well worth looking out for.
adult themes and situations, language cert 12 12.Apr.01

send your review to Shadows... R E A D E R   R E V I E W S

Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall