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Sarah Morton is a famous British mystery author. Tired of London and seeking inspiration for her new novel, she accepts an offer from her publisher John Bosload to stay at his home in Luberon, in the South of France. It is the off-season, and Sarah finds that the beautiful country locale and unhurried pace is just the tonic for her--until late one night, when John's indolent and insouciant French daughter Julie unexpectedly arrives. Sarah's prim and steely English reserve is jarred by Julie's reckless, sexually charged lifestyle. Their interactions set off an increasingly unsettling series of events, as Sarah's creative process and a possible real-life murder begin to blend dangerously together. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Charlotte Rampling's character Sarah is named after her sister, who killed herself at age 23. She told The Guardian, "I thought that after such a very long time of not letting her be with me that I would like to bring her back into my life." See more »
Inside Sarah's bedroom there is a window less than outside. In particular, that one on the inside left wall, near the corner, beside the writing desk, which, otherwise, can be seen in the outside shoot (in that room there are two windows on that side and one window and a french window on the side of the balcony). See more »
When someone keeps an entire part of their life secret from you, it's fascinating and frightening.
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This is a really fine film, by turns cultured, frightening and erotic. It's a thriller woven from the tension in the relationship between the dried up author Sarah and the nymphomaniacal publisher's daughter Julie with whom she is forced to share a villa in the Sud.
Ozon has made it so much more though. It is also an erotic drama, Sarah forced to confront herself in the cast-off wake of Julie's promiscuity. The women's tacit sexual comparisons are also played out in a series of Oedipal symbols and exchanges Most striking is a gash of a red lilo that sits menacingly and yet enticingly by the pool throughout; the men that Julie brings back to the house are also pawn-like, less sexual partners than bargaining chips between the two women.
Further ghostly references are thrown into the mix with the circumstances not dissimilar to Henry James' The Turn of The Screw and a shocking allusion to Nick Roeg's Don't Look Now as the drama mounts. As much as the drama is maintained in beautifully constructed shots and careful control of the tension and pacing this film's success must be the overwhelming performance of Rampling as Sarah. It's difficult to condense one's thoughts on the studiousness, allure and sacrifice that make up a contribution as convincing as this. Sagnier's brattish but sharp Julie is no less committed and role-immersed. Mesmerising film-making 8.5/10
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