Friday, 27 March 2009

Isabelle Carre

It seems that I am still capable of discovering new things -- some saying about old dogs and all that. I had never heard of the French actress Isabelle Carre until, as chance would have it, I watched two films in which she stars two nights in a row, thanks to the surprising programming of the new French cinema channel. Both films date from 2005: In His Hands and L'Avion (The Airplane) and both were something out of the usual.

In the former, also known as "Entre ses Mains", she stars as an insurance claims manager, married and with a young daughter, when she meets the latest claimant, a vet played by the Belgian actor Benoit Poelvoorde -- so memorable for his turn as a killer in the 1992 movie "Man Bites Dog". He seems lonely and craves her company and she agrees to various meetings which are innocent on the surface, despite the fact that he is no oil painting and irascible and despite the fact that she has an attentive, dishy husband at home. The story is set in Lille where a serial killer has been preying on women for the last year and suppressing her fears that her new friend may be the culprit, she continues to see him. An arrest is made and she relaxes her guard, even as his behaviour becomes more and more suspicious, until the shock ending which one would only find in a French film.

In the second film which falls squarely into the fantasy genre, she again plays the married mother of a young boy. When her husband who is a military pilot and researcher is killed in an accident, the two of them must face life without him. At Christmas, shortly before his death, he gave the son a large one-piece model airplane of some strange white material; the boy does not conceal his disappointment since he thinks he was promised a bicycle. Afterwards, however, he develops a fascination with the plane and believes it has wonderful powers to move and to fly and that it will be able to lead him to a last meeting with his Dad to properly say their goodbyes. The plane does indeed appear to be something magical with a will all its own, and when a military scientist takes it away for study, the boy must find a way to liberate it and discover its true purpose. This was a warm and involving story, although perhaps not quite as successful as it might have been -- it just seemed to miss somehow -- but certainly a worthy effort by all concerned.
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