Is this a horror movie or a grim fairy tale? Dedicated to her colleague, confrontationalist director Gaspar Noé, and sourced from a work by dark expressionist Frank Wedekind, Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s stunning debut describes the purgatorial existence of schoolgirls in a sequestered rural college. In their crisp white gym shifts andpigtail ribbons colour-coded by age, these prepubescent model pupils are self-policing, save for a lone crippled mistress and a ballet teacher and the hovering threat of their ‘graduation’ ceremony in the mysterious house through the dark wood from whence none ever return. Meticulously shot by Benoît Debie with the chromatic richness of the pre-Raphaelite painters – you can almost smell the moss and decay – and miraculously acted by its predominately young cast, Hadzihalilovic’s film may make for a finally problematic feminist fable, but its unique vision conjures memories of the terrible beauty of Franju’s surreal work and Laughton’s supreme symbolist invocation of childhood, ‘The Night of the Hunter’. Continue reading
The only residents of young Nicholas’s seaside town are women and boys. When he sees a dead body in the ocean one day, he begins to question his existence and surroundings. Why must he, and all the other boys, be hospitalised?
Nicolas is a boy living on a remote island set in the future, or another planet – or is it a dream? His village consists of white-painted houses located above the sea with a volcanic rock and black sand coastline, populated by young women and boys all of a similar age to Nicolas. Whilst swimming, Nicolas makes a discovery in the ocean, which is shrugged off my his mother, who, like all the women in the town has tied-back hair, is pale and wears a simple thin beige dress. Nicolas is curious, thinks that he is being lied to and starts to explore his environment, witnessing some unsettling scenes. He then finds himself taken to a hospital-like building where he along, with the others, undergoes a series of medical procedures by the women, dressed as nurses. He is befriended by one nurse, who becomes instrumental in the film’s denouement. The film is not easy to categorise; it is not only enigmatic but beautifully filmed with deeply poetic imagery. – IMDb Continue reading
A ten year old girl is received by her aunt because of her mother’s confinement to a mental hospital. But the aunt lives with a man, Jean-Pierre, who seems to be a little too nice with the girl.
“My name is Mimi. My mom took a lot of drugs last night and now she’s all pale and in the hospital. Aunt Solange took me to her apartment. My bed is in a very little closet. At night, I hear a man hurting Solange. His name is Jean-Pierre.
There’s nothing to do at my aunt’s apartment. The apartment is really hot. Jean-Pierre messes with me.nI’m scared he’s going to hurt me like he hurts my aunt at night.
Drugs have many, many colors, there are many to choose from… Maybe if I take them, I can go be with my mom again.” Continue reading
It’s true good boys do use condoms! I saw this requested and was intrigued so I decided to see if I could track it down on the mule. I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be comedy or educational, but it does show a good boy who uses not only one condom, but two, and gets a reward for being a good boy. A sex education message that would be sure to keep the class attentive!
The line between cinematic art and exploitation has rarely seemed finer and nervier than in the French film “Innocence.” A parable about the lost paradise of girlhood, specifically those prepubescent years before a girl surrenders to the inevitable bumps and fluids, the film marks the directing debut of Lucile Hadzihalilovic, whose seemingly plotless story centers on an all-girls boarding school in a thickly treed forest of the sort usually inhabited by hungry wolves and little wayfarers in symbolic red hoods. Ms. Hadzihalilovic based her screenplay on a relatively obscure text by the German-born playwright Frank Wedekind called “Mine-Haha, or the Corporeal Education of Young Girls.” The fealty of Ms. Hadzihalilovic’s translation of the Wedekind text notwithstanding, the dubious vision of utopia put forth in this film finds the girls engaged in an almost militaristic pursuit of physical perfection without commensurate attention paid to their intellect. — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times Continue reading