In the heart of a dense forest, surrounded by a high wall, there is an isolated school for girls. There are no men and only two teachers (one of whom is portrayed by Marion Cotillard) and the underage girls are strictly forbidden from leaving before completing their strange education which destines them for a mysterious future. A dark fairy tale for adults, something between “Suspiria” and “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, a beguiling coming-of-age allegory, a dreamy descent into a world plagued with mystery and dangers, one of the most enchanting directorial debuts of the last 20 years.
FRANCE, BELGIUM, JAPAN, UK | 2004 | COLOR | DCP | 122' | FRENCH
A film that defies classification and easy interpretation. Hadžihalilović (producer, editor and Gaspar Noé’s partner, to whom she dedicates the film) describes a year in an unusual boarding school for females, completely isolated geographically, where the new boarders arrive in coffins. Many events and dynamic relationships will occur among the students and the only adults, Edith and Eva (Marion Cotillard).
There is a hint that the school is a suffocating antechamber for ‘something else’, which the film cleverly refuses to specify. The result is an elliptical ‘celebration’ of symbolism (the water is dominant – not always for good) and a precursor to weird cinema, totally modern, with a lot to say for our #metoo times. I.D.
DIRECTOR: Lucile Hadžihalilović
SCREENWRITER: Lucile Hadžihalilović
DoP: Benoît Debie
MUSIC: Richard Cooke
EDITOR: Adam Finch
PRINCIPAL CAST: Zoé Auclair, Marion Cotillard, Lea Bridarolli, Bérangère Haubruge, Hélène de Fougerolles, Olga Peytavi-Müller
French editor, screenwriter, producer and director, of Bosnian origin, born in 1961. She studied Art History at the famous Parisian La Femis. She has collaborated with Gaspar Noé. This is her first feature film.