Eye For Film >> Movies >> Comedie De L'Innocence (2000) Film Review
Comedie De L'Innocence
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
The worst horror for a mother is losing her child. An even worse horror is losing her child when he is still there.
Camille - a boy, by the way - announces on his ninth birthday that his name is Paul and Mum (Isabelle Huppert) is just someone who has been taking care of him for a while. His real mother (Jeanne Balibar) lives in another part of town.
Huppert responds with incredulity, but when Camille persists with his Paulish behaviour, she goes along with it - on the surface, at least. Balibar had a son called Paul, who was drowned two years earlier. Now Camille is Paul. The two seem inseparable.
Huppert's brother (Charles Berling) is a psychiatrist. He attempts shrinkage on the kid. No luck. Either Camille is a brilliant actor, or something seriously weird is going on. Balibar has an odd way of smiling. In fact, she's odd all over. And then there is the slight problem of Berling. Does he know Balibar from another time? Is he having an affair with Huppert's au pair?
Chilean director Raoul Ruiz, who made the Proust movie Time Regained, described Comedie De L'Innocence as "an unexplainable film where explanations only deepen the mystery". Perhaps. But the mystery is so intriguing and the performances so engrossing and the cinematography so exquisite, you want to be told.
Is Balibar mad? Why is Camille pretending? What can Huppert do? How did Berling become involved?
Is? Why? What? How?
Who knows?Reviewed on: 07 Mar 2002