‘Familiar Ground’ (‘En terrains connus’)

Reviewed by Annlee Ellingson

(from the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival)

Directed/written by: Stéphane Lafleur

Starring: Francis La Haye, Fanny Mallette, Michel Daigle, Sylvain Marcel, Suzanne Lemoine and Denis Houle

In his second feature, French-Canadian writer-director Stéphane Lafleur (“Continental, un film sans fusil”) structures the narrative in three chapters around three accidents.

In the first, Maryse (Fanny Mallette) is working at her desk at a manufacturing plant when one of the other workers severs his arm on the job. We don’t see the incident, nor the aftermath up close, experiencing it only from Maryse’s point of view from her office window overlooking the factory floor. Yet the amputation haunts her. She suddenly notices missing limbs wherever she goes (like, say, on undressed store mannequins) and becomes obsessed with her own arm, to the point that she finds herself shopping for coolers she could fit it in should she
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