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Ghost River (2002) More at IMDbPro »La vie promise (original title)

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Release Date:
4 September 2002 (France) See more »
A prostitute and her teenager daughter, will have to run away after the girl stabs her mother's pimp. The woman will try to find her son, which she hasn't seen in 8 years. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
1 nomination See more »
Grace of Monaco | 2014 Cannes Review
 (From ioncinema. 14 May 2014, 1:00 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
dissociative amnesia See more (18 total) »


  (in credits order)

Isabelle Huppert ... Sylvia
Pascal Greggory ... Joshua

Maud Forget ... Laurence
Fabienne Babe ... Sandra
André Marcon ... Piotr
Louis-Do de Lencquesaing ... Maquereau 1 (as Louis Do de Lencquesaing)
David Martins ... Maquereau 2
Édith Le Merdy ... Femme hameau
Denis Braccini ... Policier en civil
Irène Ismaïloff ... Femme du policier en civil
Naguime Bendidi ... Comionneur
Frédéric Maranber ... Gérant motel
Valérie Flan ... Femme ferme
Paul-Alexandre Bardela ... Petit garçon ferme
Abdelkader ... Policier Péage
Jean-Luc Mimo ... Guichetier gare
Sylvie Lafontaine ... Vendeuse jouets
Volker Marek ... Père de Piotr
Janine Souchon ... Marie-Josée
Gilles Treton ... Employé Poste
Mélanie Vaudaine ... Femme de Piotr

Cylia Malki ... Serveuse café
Rémy Roubakha ... Georges
Elisabeth Commelin ... Infirmière psy
Jérôme Le Paulmier ... Type bétaillère
Eric Franquelin ... Motard
Samir Djama ... Jeune en mobylette
Timothée Rouaix ... Yanis 8 ans
Tatiana Porto ... Fille du policier en civil
Diana Jones ... Stripteaseuse
Leila Barazutti ... Serveuse 1 (as Leila Barazzutti)
Sarah Cacoub ... Serveuse 2
Ali Idris ... Jeune en mobylette 1
Alexandre Murard ... Jeune en mobylette 2
Paul Hervet ... Homme ferme
Hélène Né ... Mère de Piotr
Bryan Gaippe ... Yanis 2 ans
Jérôme Mattos ... Vendeur fleurs
Olivia Sitton ... Copine Laurence
Karine Lebris ... Prostituée 1 (as Karine Le Bris)
Romina Riggi ... Prostituée 2
Véronique Levy ... Prostituée 3
Laurence Laffitte ... Prostituée 4
Jasmine Taibbe ... Prostituée 5 (as Jasmina Taibbe)
Mathias Honoré ... Client cabriolet

Directed by
Olivier Dahan 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Olivier Dahan 
Agnès Fustier-Dahan 

Produced by
Jean-Pierre Dionnet .... associate producer
Éric Névé .... producer
Cinematography by
Alex Lamarque 
Film Editing by
Richard Marizy 
Casting by
Olivier Carbone 
Production Design by
Marco Bardochan 
Costume Design by
Gigi Lepage 
Production Management
Catherine Lapoujade .... production manager
Thierry Magniez .... unit manager
Antoine Rabaté .... post-production supervisor
Eric Simille .... assistant unit manager: second unit
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ivan Fegyveres .... second assistant director
Mathias Honoré .... first assistant director
Art Department
Vincent Amiel .... construction coordinator
Jérôme Billa .... set dresser
Alphaize Maud .... assistant art director
Samirha Salmi .... carpenter
Sound Department
Antoine Deflandre .... sound
Marc Doisne .... sound re-recording mixer
Xavier Drouault .... assistant foley artist
Michel Filippi .... adr supervisor
Jean-Paul Hurier .... sound mixer
Jean-Paul Hurier .... sound re-recording mixer
Nikolas Javelle .... assistant sound editor
Frédéric Mascaras .... boom operator (as Fred Mascaras)
Bridget O'Driscoll .... dialogue editor
Philippe Penot .... foley artist
Pascal Villard .... sound
Jérôme Wiciak .... sound
Visual Effects by
Hubert Fourneaux .... visual effects
Bertrand Levallois .... visual effects producer
Kilou Picard .... visual effects coordinator: visual effects
Jean-Louis Airola .... stunt performer
Isabelle Peinaud .... stunt assistant
Camera and Electrical Department
Nicolas Bary .... video assistant
Patrick Contesse .... gaffer
Olivier Dahan .... camera operator
Alex Lamarque .... camera operator
Jean-Claude Lother .... still photographer
Valentin Monge .... Steadicam operator
Dan Occo .... Steadicam operator
Steeven Petitteville .... second assistant camera
Frédéric Wormser .... focus puller
Casting Department
Anne Barbier .... extras casting
Julien Greco .... casting assistant
Emilie Maggiar .... extras casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Isabelle Pannetier .... costumer
Editorial Department
Christophe Bousquet .... color timer
Sophie Delecourt .... assistant editor
Lionel Kopp .... post-production director
Benjamin Weill .... additional assistant editor
Music Department
Stéphane Reichart .... music scoring mixer
Other crew
Stéphane Boulay .... car preparer
Christine Ferrer .... script supervisor
Yael Levy .... production coordinator

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"La vie promise" - France (original title)
"The Promised Life" - International (English title)
See more »
93 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:13 | Netherlands:6 | Netherlands:12 (DVD rating) | Switzerland:12 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:12 (canton of Vaud)
Filming Locations:

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Wayfaring StrangerSee more »


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
dissociative amnesia, 15 February 2011
Author: decroissance

Isabelle Huppert's character is neither brain-damaged nor schizophrenic. She suffers from what the DSM IV terms "dissociative amnesia". Some people just call it dissociation. The popular term for this phenomenon is repressed memories; however, professionals no longer use that term because it is inaccurate and fraught with misperceptions.

My interpretation of this character's history is this: At some point in her past, before she married her husband and had children, she experienced something which was so traumatic, terrifying, and threatening to her sense of safety and existence,that she had to lose awareness of it in order to not lose her mind. She had a breakdown later on and entered the psychiatric hospital. She got married and things were going okay for awhile but then something triggered the old trauma and she became dissociative again. She left her husband, started a new life and "forgot" all about her old life. She became emotionally shut down and empty because at this point she only functioned with a small amount of her emotional make-up. She had to shut the rest of it down because it contained knowledge that was too threatening for her to know about.

Then she has to run away because of the murder and she re-reads the letters from her ex-husband and slowly starts regaining awareness of that part of her life. However, she still can't remember the original trauma that caused all her problems. When she arrives back at the old house, images and impressions of her life there flood through her mind as if from a dream. This is what memories lost through dissociation are like when they come back. The director evoked this experience pretty accurately. I wanted to tell friends that if they want to see what it's like to remember things that one has lost through dissociation, to see this movie.

She lost the memory of her husband and her life with him because in some way that experience connected to the earlier, unbearable trauma.

She goes back to the psychiatric hospital because she wants to know about her past. She wants to know what happened during her marriage and also what the original trauma was.

I am not pulling this out of the air. For someone knowledgeable about dissociative amnesia, the clues in the movie are obvious.

For one thing, the husband refers in his letter to "that old trouble", or something like that. He says something like, "I know how fragile you are, but I thought that old trouble was behind you..." I can't remember exactly what he says. As I understood it, he was referring to trouble caused by traumatic experiences early in her life. Others may believe he's talking about mental illness such as schizophrenia, but they are incorrect. I'd have to see the film again to argue this point more effectively. However, there's too much else in this movie that makes it clear her problem is dissociation, not schizophrenia.

I can make this case with confidence because this character's story mirrors my own in many ways. The idea that a person can forget events central to her life because they call up old emotions and traumas, which she needed to block out, is not far-fetched. It happened to me. I did forget a significant person, as well as the events and emotions connected with him. I did read his letters years later, and when I did, I started to remember our relationship of 27 years previously. I did find him and after I did, I gradually remembered most of what our relationship had been and who he was. When I called him out of the blue, he told me he had been in love with me all his life. He had never married. Now, he has moved on, after we talked at length about what had happened and I explained to him why I had broken up with him in the terrible way that I did.

When I remembered the relationship I'd had with him, all the emotions connected with it felt as if they'd happened last week, not 27 years ago.

I too have been wanting to remember the details of the original trauma. I had started remembering it before I remembered the old boyfriend. A lot of it has come back, but not all. I think that Isabelle's character probably did get at least some of the answers she was looking for. The fact that the audience didn't get these answers only means that the specific reason she dissociated in the first place is not the most important part of the story.

What's important is the story that came after -- how it affected her and her family, what they all lost, and how she recovered her full self.

It's also about how people need love to heal and how love enables us to heal each other.

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