7.1/10
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67 user 84 critic

Under the Sand (2000)

Sous le sable (original title)
Unrated | | Drama, Mystery | 4 May 2001 (USA)
When her husband goes missing at the beach, a female professor begins to mentally disintegrate as her denial of his disappearance becomes delusional.

Director:

François Ozon

Writers:

François Ozon (scenario and dialogue), Emmanuèle Bernheim (collaboration) | 2 more credits »
1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charlotte Rampling ... Marie Drillon
Bruno Cremer ... Jean Drillon
Jacques Nolot ... Vincent
Alexandra Stewart ... Amanda
Pierre Vernier ... Gérard
Andrée Tainsy Andrée Tainsy ... Suzanne
Maya Gaugler Maya Gaugler ... German woman
Damien Abbou Damien Abbou ... Chief lifeguard
David Portugais David Portugais ... Young lifeguard
Pierre Soubestre Pierre Soubestre ... Policeman
Agathe Teyssier Agathe Teyssier ... In charge of luxury store
Laurence Martin Laurence Martin ... Apartment seller
Jean-François Lapalus Jean-François Lapalus ... Paris doctor
Laurence Mercier ... Paris doctor's secretary
Fabienne Luchetti Fabienne Luchetti ... Pharmacist
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Storyline

Marie, a professor of English literature in a Paris university, has been happily married to Jean for 25 years, although they have no children. During their summer vacations in the southwest of France, Jean leaves Marie sunbathing on the beach and goes to swim in the sea. When Marie turns back, she cannot find Jean. Has he left her? commited suicide? drowned? With no clue and no body to mourn over, Marie acts as her husband was still alive. Written by Loic Henry-Greard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Can love vanish without a trace?

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Japan

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

4 May 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Under the Sand See more »

Filming Locations:

Ris-Orangis, Essonne, France See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,657, 6 May 2001

Gross USA:

$1,452,698

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,531,687
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

For financial reasons, the movie was shut down for 6 months, which worked for the best for François Ozon because then he actually shot on the summer and the winter, like the movie differentiates. See more »

Quotes

Marie Drillon: I am his wife, and I'm telling you, this is *not* him!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Look (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphonie no 2 en do mineur - Résurrection
Music by Gustav Mahler (as G.Mahler)
Performed by Ceská Filharmonie (as l'Orchestre Philharmonique Tchèque)
Conducted by Václav Neumann (as V.Neumann)
Avec l'aimable autorisation de Koka Media
See more »

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User Reviews

Three Colours Beige
3 March 2008 | by ThreeSadTigersSee all my reviews

François Ozon's Under the Sand is a great departure from his previous films, trading the bold and over the top farce of Sitcom and the brash melodrama of Criminal Lovers for something much more restrained. As a result, this is a mature film about mature characters, shot in a low-key style that is beautiful, though unobtrusive; with Ozon's camera finding a sense of poetry and evocation in even the most mundane of objects to help further express the sense of grief and remembrance so central to the spirit of our main protagonist. To help convey this, the filmmaker instills his work with a lethargic mood, drawing on the silences of scenes and the physical and emotional distances between his characters to create something that is much more internal and subjective than the ensemble films that he is best known for (Sitcom, Water Drops On Burning Rocks, 8 Women, etc).

It's almost a cliché to reference Bergman when talking of films that focus almost solely on the existential matters at the heart of their characters, but I suppose it could be relevant here; the film also reminded me, in tone, of Woody Allen's Bergman-esquire drama Interiors, or perhaps even Another Woman, with the film often confining itself to cramped and quiet locations in which characters meet for sex and lengthy semi-philosophical discussion. It's certainly not a film for the Friday night matinée crowd, but I'd imagine that goes without saying; with the story focusing on middle-aged characters and themes like grief, regret, loss and mental illness. However, the film manages to transcend the chamber-piece trappings of the Bergman style of drama by also giving us an element of mystery. It would be wrong to reveal too much about this central concept in something as ultimately superficial as a product review, although it's safe to say that the film hinges around a question of bereavement and the way in which this bereavement, or loss, is viewed by our central character in relation to those around her.

In this respect the film is similar to George Sluizer's original version of The Vanishing, in the respect that both of these films pivot around a mysterious disappearance, which leaves the absentee's lover desperately searching for some kind of closure. Unlike The Vanishing however, Under the Sand relegates the more obvious thriller elements to the background in order to more closely analyse the effect of the disappearance and possible death on his lover and her different methods of coming to terms with it. Ozon, as evident from films like Water Drops On Burning Rocks and Swimming Pool, has a strong grasp on his actors, and here draws some beautifully rendered performances from his highly esteemed cast. As some of the other comments have already noted, the central performance from Charlotte Rampling is an absolute revelation, as she creates a character that remains elusive throughout, but at the same time, is completely sympathetic. A much understated drama.


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