4 items from 2001
Samuel L. Jackson puts his scary screen presence down to a childhood love of the 'no-blinking' game. Jackson star is noted for his ability to convincingly portray intense characters, which Jackson believes is all down to the fact he doesn't blink - something he learned as a kid. He says, "I have this habit of being able to stare unblinkingly at you until you break. I did this in Unbreakable. It used to amaze Night [Shyamalan, director] and he'd go, 'But you didn't blink!' I'm like, 'Did you want me to?' I hadn't thought about it. I guess it's just one of those things that as a kid I was interesting in doing. We used to play that game where the first kid to blink lost. I always won that game!" »
Actor Bruce Willis is so shocked by recent attacks on America, he's sworn never to play an action hero again. The brooding star, known for fighting bad guys in the Die Hard films, has greatly enjoyed the new seriousness he's reached in M. Night Shyamalan's hit movies The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable. He says, "I'm not an action hero anymore, and I think it would be inappropriate for me to compare anything that happens in Hollywood and the entertainment industry to the tragic loss of life on September 11th. I know people who died in that tragedy. It's impossible to wrap your mind around what happened there. What happens in Hollywood isn't real - it's about diversion. What I'm trying to do is just entertain people. I'm proud to be an entertainer." »
Sixth Sense director M. Night Shyamalan is reported to have signed an eight-figure deal with Disney for his next film. Shyamalan has already written the thriller Signs, which is thought to be about crop circles. He will also direct it when production begins this autumn. Shyamalan is said to have handed over the script to Disney bosses, who immediately contacted his agent to secure a deal. The official figures have not been revealed, but Shyamalan did get $10 million upfront for his last film, Unbreakable. The plot of Signs is being closely guarded but, like his previous two films, it is a thriller set in Shyamalan's home state of Pennsylvania. »
"Sous le Sable" ("Under the Sand"), the fourth feature from the rising star of new French writer-directors, Francois Ozon, is as fine an example of French art house moviemaking as you can get. Despite its lack of obvious commercial appeal, the movie has proved a big hit with cinemagoers here. With 369,000 admissions in the first 10 days, it is sitting comfortably as one of the top 10 most popular movies in France at the moment.
The plot centers on Marie (Charlotte Rampling), a professor of English literature in a Paris university, and her husband, Jean (Bruno Cremer). The childless couple, happily married for 25 years, are on summer vacation in southwest France. Jean leaves Marie sunbathing on the beach while he goes to swim in the ocean. When Marie wakes up, Jean has disappeared.
She doesn't know whether he has drowned, committed suicide or simply left her. Marie returns to Paris to pick up her life. But with no body to mourn, she is unable to accept her husband's death and enters an emotional no man's land between hope and despair. In her fragile state of mind, she continues to act as if Jean is still alive.
Compared by some to M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense", Ozon's movie does bear some resemblance. There's the ghostly presence of Jean, who is always in the apartment when Marie returns home. At first, it's not clear whether Jean has indeed returned or whether he is simply being re-created by Marie in her imagination. But there, similarities end.
Shyamalan's movie was a thriller, and although Jean's disappearance is a mystery, it's not one Ozon is interested in solving. The director has even said he wrote the beginning of the movie without knowing how it was going to end.
At several points, however, it does look as if the plot is about to take a conventional turn and Jean's fate will be revealed. But Ozon's not interested in providing the why and the how of Jean's disappearance but in the intimate details of how Marie reacts to the brutal loss not only of a loved one but also of a way of life and a comfortable routine.
Rampling is superb as a woman pushed to the edge of madness by grief. There is hardly a scene in which she does not appear, and the camera hugs close to her face and body, recording every nuance, every shift in emotion. At 56, there are few actresses who would allow the camera to take such liberties. It's almost unbearable to watch her portrayal of a woman clinging desperately to the structure of her former married life -- her job, dinner parties with friends -- while hysteria is simmering beneath the surface.
SOUS LE SABLE
Arte France Cinema, Euro Space, Fidelite Prods., Haut et Court
Producers: Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier
Director: Francois Ozon
Screenwriters: Francois Ozon, Emmanuelle Bernheim, Marcia Romano, Marina de Van
Director of photography: Antoine Heberle, Jeanne Lapoirie
Production designer: Sandrine Carnaux
Music: Philippe Rombi
Costume designer: Pascaline Chavanne
Editor: Laurence Bawedin
Marie Drillon: Charlotte Rampling
Jean Drillon: Bruno Cremer
Vincent: Jacques Nolot
Amanda: Alexandra Stewart
Gerard: Pierre Vernier
Suzanne: Andree Tainsy2001-03-07
Running time -- 95 minutes
No MPAA rating
4 items from 2001
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