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(Not to be mistaken for Jaco Van Dormael's eponymous award-winning movie (1996) starring Daniel Auteuil)
Marcel Hanoun has never taken the easy way .His more accessible work ,"Une Simple Histoire" ,a MTV effort -which was released in the theaters as well- told the story of a poor woman ,lost in Paris with her daughter,in a very austere way,without any touch of melodrama .
The same goes for "Le Huitième Jour" :the newspaper which could have led the movie into melodrama territory is only a way to help the heroine make up her mind.
The key to the movie is in Chartres where Françoise visits her folks ;after a walk with her mom (a cast against type Lucienne Bogaert) in a bleak street of a provincial town,Françoise takes one of her dolls out of her wardrobe ,put it on the windowsill and says "look" to the toy.
Françoise is an introverted lonely woman, a little self-centered and even selfish employee nearing thirty (Hanoun uses much voice over to depict her frames of mind).During the week ,she lives a monotonous life ,in spite of her neighbor's efforts ,a widower,to overcome her firm independence of men .The eighth day is Sunday :she opens up ,she's beaming ,in the only sequence filmed in color .
The neighbor's kid brother is a tad infuriating (and his scenes are closer to what we call "conventional"cinema) but it helps FRançoise to find her way to love in her too well-organized rigid world.
Without a great actress,I must confess the movie might sometimes have bored me ;but Emmanuelle Riva is not just anybody : perhaps the most gifted thespian of her generation, she's got a quivering sensitivity who triumphed in Resnais's and Franju's works.
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