In Lille, two penniless young women with few prospects become friends. Isa moves in with Marie, who's flat-sitting for a mother and child in hospital in comas following a car crash. Isa is ... See full summary »
China in the 1920's. After her father's death, nineteen year old Songlian is forced to marry Chen Zuoqian, the lord of a powerful family. Fifty year old Chen has already three wives, each ... See full summary »
In Lille, two penniless young women with few prospects become friends. Isa moves in with Marie, who's flat-sitting for a mother and child in hospital in comas following a car crash. Isa is out-going, unskilled, with hopes of moving south to warmer climes. Marie usually is either angry or detached. Then, while Isa begins to visit the child in whose flat they live, going to hospital to read to her, Marie slowly falls for a rich youth. At first Marie keeps him at bay, then she not only pursues him, she begins to dream he is her life's love. When Isa tries to warn Marie, their friendship flounders. How will Marie handle the inevitable? And once they lose the flat, where will they go? Written by
Now I don't like to be too nice about the French but this film confirms my long-held suspicion that their films are the best. They may not make as much money as US films but at least they offer something of substance. Clearly, this is not a feel-good movie. And no, it's not about beautiful people living in beautiful houses with beautiful clothes. It's about the real life of two normal people and, although that might not appear to be a recipe for a particularly fascinating film, I was enthralled. It is so rare nowadays to see a films that conveys emotions and human relationships so powerfully and I have no hesitation in putting this film in my short list of the best I've seen in recent years.
In detail, two girls whose lives are drifting nowhere are staying rent-free in the flat of a family all but one of whom have been killed in a car accident. One of the girls has a family background that we never learn more about but which is clearly unhappy. She pins her hopes on a rich boyfriend whose father owns the nightclub they frequent. The other girl is more of a thoughtful type and becomes obsessed with the only survivor from the car accident whom she regularly visits in hospital, where she is lying in a deep coma. The girls' lives start to take different directions, their relationship breaks down and one of them starts to lose her mind. Any further detail would spoil the plot but the final scene shows one of the girls working in a clean and efficient-looking factory which is in marked contrast to the tacky sweat shop where the girls were working at the beginning of the film. For all the tragedy, the film's message is ultimately one of hope: however hard life is, don't give up.
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