The adventures of an upper-class suburban family abruptly confronted with the younger brother's discovery of his homosexuality, the elder sister's suicide attempt and sado-masochist ... See full summary »
Marina de Van
When her husband is taken hostage by his striking employees, a trophy wife (Deneuve) takes the reins of the family business and proves to be a remarkably effective leader. Business and ... See full summary »
After losing her virginity, Isabelle takes up a secret life as a call girl, meeting her clients for hotel-room trysts. Throughout, she remains curiously aloof, showing little interest in the encounters themselves or the money she makes.
Marie, a professor of English literature in a Paris university, has been happily married to Jean for 25 years, although they have no children. During their summer vacations in the southwest of France, Jean leaves Marie sunbathing on the beach and goes to swim in the sea. When Marie turns back, she cannot find Jean. Has he left her? commited suicide? drowned? With no clue and no body to mourn over, Marie acts as her husband was still alive. Written by
Requires settling in and brooding, and watching Rampling slowly adjust and consider love and death
Under the Sand (2000)
The plot is simple, almost too simple, and because very little happens, it depends on mood and deeply serious thinking about death to survive. And on Charlotte Rampling to have the nuance and range to pull it off.
And it works, overall, because of just those two things: heavy subject and Rampling. There are issues (and tricks, cinematically) with ghosts and memories, but these play small against the bigger strain of the lead woman dealing with this sudden trauma in her life. Even though the main event in the movie happens at the start, I don't dare mention it because its surprise is important (I didn't know it was coming, and liked the way it was handled very much).
Director Francois Ozon never seems to quite nail down the pace and editing of his films, at least for American sensibilities. Even the sensationally complex Swimming Pool doesn't quite use its material to propel us in every scene. But let's turn that on its head and say that Ozon uses emptiness and gaps in the action to give his movies breathing room, or maybe, in some old fashioned sense, the make them serious. When nothing is "happening" you can only start to think and dwell on the events, along with the characters. In Under the Sand there is nothing else to do and yet it's exactly what Rampling in her role has to do: think and dwell. It's slow at times, yes, but only if you don't let yourself relax and get absorbed.
And, like the character, confuse what is real from what is chimera, and what she needs with what she once had, and even one man from another. Even her fluid bi-lingual abilities add to the duality. By the time you get to the final scene you are left wondering what true love really is, and whether it's worth it. Because maybe it is. She has something most people do not, and it seems like a sickness and a gift at once.
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