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Sous le Sable completely convincing


by René Zuiderveld in Films & Books , 07 May 2001


The young and talented French director François Ozon has been doing a lot of filming lately. Sitcom showed him as a lover of the surreal, Les Amants Criminels brought a bizarre, cruel, Freudian fairy tale to the screen, and Gouttes d'Eau sur Pierres Brûlantes brought Rainer Werner Fassbinder back to life.

Now his Sous le Sable has hit the cinemas, an impressive psychological study of a woman who cannot accept the death of her husband. The ever fascinating Charlotte Rampling brillianty portrays Marie, a woman, happily married, spending her holidays by the sea, in the company of her beloved husband. During a day spent on the beach, Jean dives into the waves, while Marie dozes off reading a book. When she wakes up, Jean still hasn't come back. A thorough search by the wreck masters leads to nothing. Jean has disappeared without trace. Half a year later Marie seems to have picked up her life again, but in minor details it soon becomes clear, that she hasn't accepted Jean's disappearance. She still does shopping for two, talks about her husband in the present tense and keeps buying him presents.
Even when she has to identify a body fished out of the sea, she keeps denying this is the body of her dead husband.

With Sous le Sable Ozon made a fabulous, gripping and detailed portrayal of a woman. Rampling shows once again how convincing an actress she is in movies, that allow her all the time and space to show the innermost self of the character she's playing. Sous le Sable is a slow movie, yet with so much depth and insight, it will linger and shine for a long time after in your memory.




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