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Today, Camille turns nine. He had sworn that on his 9th birthday he would show his parents the videos he was shooting on the side-the tail of a cat scampering away, a window, and a veiled woman's face - an intriguing picture... Later that day, Camille's mother, Ariane, meets up with her son in the park. The boys appears perturbed. He is leaning against a tree, eyes cast down. He says that now he wants to return to his "real home" and his "real mother." Written by
Difficult to believe in such a strange mixture of emotions
Ariane (Isabelle Huppert) mother of young Camille has a frustrating problem on her hands. Her son says that she is not his real mother and that his real mother lives in another part of town. Also he insists that Ariane take him to her. What has happened to parental control? Mother and son seek her out. Her name is Isabella ( Jean Balibar) and she had a son Paul the same age as Camille but he was lost in a drowning accident. From this moment on Isabella seems to take over insisting Camille is Paul and Camille insisting that she is his mother.
It's very unlikely to happen in real life and the whole set-up is rather laughable. Things get worse when Isabella moves into Ariane's home to be near her so-called Paul. While there she tries to seduce Georges. "Why are you doing this?" he asks".....I need a father for my son" Because Isabella is so difficult to get rid of, family and friends suspect she could be a witch. Need I go on?
The acting is excellent throughout. Huppert so gracious and serene, and Balibar well cast as the post-traumatic mother with her ever too ready smile. The dialogue is strange. Many sentences are unfinished. Many idea are not resolved. There is a vague feeling of inactivity and helplessness. The au pair is strange and loves to play the dice. The whole house is littered with busts of men and women so weird-looking in the shadowy light of evening. Great for atmosphere but surely difficult to live with. No wonder the household was a trifle mad.
One scene tends to send shivers down one's back. It's when Isabella decides to re-enact the drowning of her son by dunking Camille off the side of the barge. She is completely crackers...quite pathetic really.
Camille's favourite plaything is a video camera which he likes to poke into everybody's face. It is said the camera does not lie and in this case what is captured on video happens to resolve the situation.
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