Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Dreamlife of Angels

La Vie rêvée des anges; Drama, France, 1998; D: Erick Zonca, S: Élodie Bouchez, Natacha Régnier, Grégoire Colin, Patrick Mercado, Jo Prestia

With a backpack on her back, Isa (21) travels through the Lille and sells self-made cards whenever she gets the chance. Her attempt to find a job at a textile factory falls short since she only makes bad shirts, yet she meets Marie who surprisingly allows her to sleep over at her place. They become friends and meets two disco bouncers, the fat Charlie and Fred. Marie starts a relationship with Charlie and he gives her 200 Franks. But she breaks up with him when she meets the spoiled, but rich Chris who flirts with her. Isa doesn't understand such a vertiginous behavior: Marie hates Chris, but then loves him, until he leaves her. The apartment is sold. Isa finds a job in some factory.

Erick Zonca shot his first feature length film, the passive-realistic drama about two outsider girls, rather late in his life, when he was 42 years old, but at least the raving compliments of critics and numerous prizes, among other the nomination for a Golden Palm and the best actress award for Elodie Bouchez and Natacha Regnier in Cannes, compensated for it. By it's quiet tone and lack of music, "Dreamlife" seems like some Dogma 95 movie, and it has continuity. But it's not quite a sparkling result, mostly due to the lack of "dreamy" touch and empty story. It's a rather depressive drama about the grey life of many people and it's a pity that the director didn't insert something special into it, even though he has a few excellent situations, because as a whole this touching movie seems mild and the plot develops only towards the end.


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