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The Girl from the Chartreuse (2005)

La petite Chartreuse (original title)
Eight-year-old Eva and her mother have a very positive CHILD-TO-CHILD-RELATION. The mother is incapable of mature behaviour when problems arise. When the mother forgets to fetch Eva at ... See full summary »

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(scenario), (book) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Etienne Vollard
...
Pascale Blanchot
Bertille Noël-Bruneau ...
Eva Blanchot
Marisa Borini ...
Anna
...
Baldi
Elisabeth Macocco ...
Consoeur, brocanteuse (as Elizabeth Macocco)
Claude Koener ...
Médecin institution
Marie-Claude Vermorel ...
Mireille
Jean-Michel Noirey ...
L'enquêteur
Lison Riess ...
Infirmière hôpital
Francine Lorin-Blazquez ...
Infirmière institution
Philippe Saïd ...
Le réceptionniste
Francis Frappat ...
Le serveur de la discothèque
Philippe Chabrier ...
Serveur bowling
Rémi Thiberge ...
Guide montagne
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Storyline

Eight-year-old Eva and her mother have a very positive CHILD-TO-CHILD-RELATION. The mother is incapable of mature behaviour when problems arise. When the mother forgets to fetch Eva at school in her car, Eva does not know the way home. Panicking and crying she just runs and is overrun by a car. The driver is obviously innocent. He is a second-hand bookseller (Etienne) and a mountain climber and has a phenomenal memory. The hospital cannot tell whether Eva will ever wake up from her coma, or will speak or move. But it is important that she is much spoken to while she is in coma. The bookseller takes upon himself the task the mother cannot do. He visits the child for hours every day and tells her Jack London's snow stories, which he knows by heart. Eventually Eva wakes up. She is still mute and will go only if Etienne holds her hands and actively walks her. She is bored by all kinds of child play but fascinated by the snowy mountains that can be seen from the hospital. Suddenly Eva ... Written by Max Scharnberg, Stockholm, Sweden

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Drama

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Release Date:

23 February 2005 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Girl from the Chartreuse  »

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1.85 : 1
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Soundtracks

Capitaine abandonné
(karaoke version)
Editions Paquebot
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User Reviews

 
Am I Weakening?
11 July 2005 | by (Oakland, California) – See all my reviews

I'm not sure there's a translation yet, so how available it may be to other English speakers, but I've made a point of reading Péju's "La Petite Chartreuse" before commenting the film based on it.

The read, two months and a half after seeing the film, was a bizarre experience. Despite myself, I entered the novel with expectations. I entered it anticipating its conclusion. It begins in what I think of as L'Etranger mode. Not just Camus' one, but three self-absorbed-yet-reacting-to-their-environs characters—Eva, her mother, and memory-savant Vollard—gravitate toward the accident that will irrevocably change each. This wasn't so different. Denis and his cinematographer had attempted something like it. I read on.

Pieces fell in: the mother's psychological and physical absence, her incompetence, prompting Vollard's reluctant yet ever-increasing movement toward Eva. The film's mother had been so much easier to forgive, even while blaming her. Is it harder to deny face, voice, and eyes than their more rational representation in prose? In prose as on screen, Vollard versus Eva and her ailment amounts to "mutisme contra mutisme" (p. 253, Gallimard, 2002). Other things challenged my memory. What's this 1968 strikes stuff? Who's this narrator who becomes an "I" for a single chapter, then recuses himself in favor of all too omniscient third-person? Did the film's bookshop burn? I don't think so, but… Was there bungee jumping? Maybe. As the novel closed, I grew panicky. How can what-has-to-happen happen in the eighth an inch of pages left?! In a sixteeth?!!

The answer is that Péju's prose didn't allow to happen my film-born what-has-to-happen. The filmmakers, while keeping and using nearly all Péju's dark elements, wrested from them a better feeling, even a heroic finish. Maybe it's just that I'm a smalltime climber, so felt almost as if I knew the snowy col the film's Vollard crosses at last, but as I traversed the whole novel I felt I was climbing to a sort of redemption.

The novel closes darkly against the light of the film that succeeds it. I tend to hate bogus film endings, movie endings. Why not this time, this one? Am I weakening?


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