5.2/10
130
4 user 3 critic

Boxes (2007)

A woman sifts through boxes filled with memories of her past seeks forgivness from the ghosts who still haunt her.

Director:

Jane Birkin

Writer:

Jane Birkin
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Geraldine Chaplin ... Maman
Michel Piccoli ... Papa
Jane Birkin ... Anna
Natacha Régnier ... Fanny
Lou Doillon Lou Doillon ... Camille
Adèle Exarchopoulos ... Lilli
John Hurt ... Le Père de Fanny
Maurice Bénichou ... Max
Tchéky Karyo ... Jean
Annie Girardot ... Joséphine
Serge Lafaurie Serge Lafaurie ... Le grand-père
Diana Payne-Myers Diana Payne-Myers ... Mme Martin
Jacques Caraës Jacques Caraës ... Le jeune homme du bateau
Jacques Baratier Jacques Baratier ... Le petit veuf
Paul Nehr Paul Nehr ... M Carton
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Storyline

Anna (Jane Birkin), a woman in her fifties, has just moved into her seaside new house somewhere in Brittany. The place is still cluttered with boxes out of which ghosts appear that start tormenting her. Anna has lived many lives: she has been married three times and has had three daughters from three different men. Quite logically life has not been easy for Anna and for her offspring, Fanny (Natasha Régnier), Camille (Lou Doillon), and Lilli (Adèle Exarchopoulos). All those who counted for her, dead or undead, have moved with her into her new house and assail her with reproaches, regrets, and accusations. Will Anna manage to escape them and be able start a new life? Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Getting to Know You
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
© 1951 Willamson Music International
Avec l'Autorisation de EMI MUSIC PUBLISHING France
Tous dorits réservés
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User Reviews

 
Interesting but slightly disappointing
21 June 2007 | by guy-bellingerSee all my reviews

Jane Birkin has always been one of my favorites. An import from Britain, she has been a popular figure in France for nearly four decades now, first as the sexy/funny companion and muse of major singer-composer Serge Gainsbourg, then as a singer herself and a cinema, TV and theater actress. She also took part in many a radio and TV show, popularizing her comical English accent and grammar mistakes when speaking French. First confined to light comedy or little songs she gradually let the deeper side of her personality show through and recently turned to screen writing and directing for TV. "Boxes" is her first movie for the big screen. She wrote the script, directed and starred. Needless to say I was looking forward to seeing the result of this triple effort but I must admit I was a little let down.

Not that "Boxes" is uninteresting. It is sincere (Jane tells about herself and does not spare herself). It is ambitious and courageous (opting for surrealism, opting out of linear narrative, mixing the living and the dead in the same scenes, filming the naked body of an old woman, tackling unpleasant intimate subjects, …is no easy way out). And although cheaply produced, "Boxes" can boast a dream cast (Geraldine Chaplin, Michel Piccoli, John Hurt, Tcheky Karyo, Natacha Régnier, Lou Doillon, Annie Girardot …).

However, for all these assets, "Boxes" is too imperfect to be memorable.

The first defect is that the story is much too referential to be universal. If you do not know Jane Birkin's life story to the tip of your fingers you are likely to be lost. I personally had no difficulty in identifying Anna as Jane, Max as Gainsbourg,, Camille as Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jean as Jacques Doillon etc., but I was baffled by the characters I had not been introduced to. Who are Madame Martin, Josephine and the small widower? Who do they represent? I was really confused each time they appeared so I can imagine the reaction of someone with no or insufficient information about the main characters…

Another problem is the director's clumsy dealing with the surrealistic form adopted. I am not the kind to balk at non-linear story-telling. I love Buñuel's "El Angel exterminador" or Lynch's "Mulholland Drive" but for a surrealistic work to leave a deep impact it must fascinate. And mesmerized I was not. There is of course a series of strange-looking, cruel-sounding scenes but they are merely flatly juxtaposed. There is no tension rising, no vertigo overwhelming you.

Last but not least, it looks as if Jane Birkin has taken herself too seriously this time. Where has her legendary self-derision gone? Of course life has been difficult for her but a touch of lightness now and then would have been welcome. By exposing her sufferings so unabashedly Birkin borders on self-indulgence.

All in all, "Boxes" is more interesting than successful. At any rate, it is recommended only to those who know Jane Birkin and who love her.


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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

6 June 2007 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Boxes - Les boîtes See more »

Filming Locations:

Landéda, Finistère, France See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$84,387
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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