Friday, January 8, 2010

Innocence (2004)

Director: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
Homevision DVD

This is a difficult film to process, but in a good way. It's a tense film where we never see anything bad actually happen. It's a horror film without horrible things. The film evokes these feelings through tone and composition, but mainly it achieves it's uneasy quality by using it's audiences own expectations against them. The story takes place in an all girls school where young females are watched over and taught by adult females, mainly to dance ballet. As we watch these children in their "innocence" we can't help but to project our own fears onto what we know the real world is like. Their world is completely devoid of money, social standing, and sex, the things most people worry about daily. And the school they are in seems incapable of preparing them for the world. The style of the film adds to nervousness as well. It is made with minimal camera movements, little dialog, and running water is the most memorable score aspect. Water being a recurring theme throughout, it's the first and last short of the movie and water is often used as a symbol of feminine power, which these girls do not understand yet. It can also be a surreal experience, like when a new girl arrives at the school she does so in a coffin and the older girls must journey through a grandfather clock to perform recitals for men hidden in shadows. The cast features Marion Cotillard and Corinne Marchand (the title character in Cleo From 5 to 7) but other wise is made up of non-actors as young as seven. The disc contains a lengthy interview with the director and a slide show with commentary by the youngest cast member.


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