Elle Est Des Notres

Elle Est Des Notres


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

Christine Blanc (Sasha Andres) - her very surname suggestive of a void - is a 35-year-old temp in a wintry provincial French town. Living a lonely, anonymous existence, she fantasises of having a real life to tell her parents about at the weekly family dinner.

One day, Christine's imaginings take a dangerous turn. Concocting a mutual interest in collecting owl ornaments, she invites Patricia (Catherine Mouchet) from the temping agency for a meal and, perhaps, a possible romance. Later, Patricia responds by inviting Christine for a swim. Something in Christine snaps under the pressure of normal social interaction and she kills Patricia.

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From here on in things get increasingly weird. Christine seems to get a permanent job and attract a boyfriend, not to mention the attentions of two comedy police officers and their chief. But is it for real, or just in her mind? At what point do we enter the world of fantasy - if at all?

Imagine a hybrid of Chabrolian thriller, Dostoyevsky and Billy Liar - or The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty - and you have a fairly good idea of what director Siegrid Alnoy is dishing up here.

That the director has a talent for producing an unsettling mood is apparent from the outset, an eerie soundtrack, well chosen locations and alienating mise-en-scene combining to convey Christine's dislocation and incipient psychosis without ever explicitly saying as much.

But once Christine has killed Patricia - or imagined herself doing so, perhaps - Alnoy has nowhere left to go. Christine's sheer emotional blankness - a good performance by Sasha Andres, it has to be acknowledged - and a growing frustration at making sense of what is actually going on make it hard to stay interested in the story and its protagonist.

Reviewed on: 19 Aug 2003
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A lonely French office temp fantasises about a more interesting life, which might include murder.
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Director: Siegrid Alnoy

Writer: Siegrid Alnoy, Jerome Beaujour

Starring: Sasha Andres, Carlo Brandt, Catherine Mouchet, Eric Caravaca, Pierre-Félix Gravière, Jacques Spiesser, Mireille Roussel, Daniel Ceccaldi

Year: 2002

Runtime: 100 minutes

Country: France


EIFF 2003

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