The Page Turner

Dir: Denis Dercourt
Star: Déborah François, Catherine Frot, Pascal Greggory, Clothilde Mollet

This has perhaps most in common with the works of Park Chan-Wook, with its tale of revenge served very cold. Indeed, positively deep-frozen for a decade, before being thawed out. Melanie (François) has her musical aspirations destroyed as a result of a thoughtless distraction by famous pianist Ariane (Frot). Ten years later, Melanie gets a job at the law-firm owned by Ariane's husband (Greggory), and this sets in motion a chain of events which unfold with the stately progress of Shakespearean tragedy towards a grim, but fairly satisfying, conclusion. The film works mostly thanks largely to a frostily well-judged performance by François, whose character is kept enigmatic. It's never clear how much has been deliberately organized by Melanie, or whether she is simply taking advantage of an opportunity dumped in her lap by karma. And why did she harbour such a grudge to begin with?

It is a low-key film, with the revenge wrought much more through psychological means than physical ones - there is one moment involving a cello, and that's about it, despite nods to the potential for violence. Though it's no less devastating for that, though the director is too keen on depicting classical music being played, something I don't have enormous interest in. [Dercourt is apparently an accomplished performer himself] Perhaps it was needed to get the running-time up to feature-length, since it only lasts a brisk 82 minutes, and the film certainly seems sluggishly-paced in the middle, because you can tell whereabout the film is going. Once you've worked that out, there's not really many surprises, but watching it unfold is still a pleasure. Memo to self: do not upset small French children. They are clearly very good at holding grudges.

[The DVD is released through Tartan Video USA on July 10th, including behind-the-scenes footage and the trailer.]

July 2007

The Hand That Rocks the, er, Piano
See also... [Index] [Next] [Previous] [TC Home Page]