L'Annulaire (The Ring Finger) Reviews
TRIVIA TIME:Olga Kurylenko won the Certificate Of Excellence at the 2006 Brooklyn International Film Festival for her performance in this film.
The Ring Finger, this is one of my favourite films of all time, starring Quantum of Solace's new 'Bond Girl', the beautiful Olga Kurylenko. This little known film - that is very difficult to find - really provokes ones' imagination to a new height. This film leaves almost no answers, but many questions. This film is so beautifully shot, it soars into my favourites. This is based upon the Japanese cult book by Yoko Ogawa, which I want to read. The film follows a young girl and her saucy affair with her boss (not married, both single so not the affair as in cheating, just as in the event). Diane Bertrand read the book and wrote a screenplay, which premiered at the 2006 French film festival.
Olga Kurylenko stars in her debut role, Iris (no last name digressed). Olga plays a young women searching for work after an accident at her previous job. Olga does a great debut performance. Iris does not really seem to have an outstanding goal, or ambition. No background of her family, or past residents are shown, only where she used to work. This may seem like a disaster and a failure to make a descent screenplay, but no this is all intended. There is not much dialogue, but with her dialogue, she is fantastic. What I am most impressed with is her body language, which is requiring for most her acting. As well as the other cast this is a full body language film - without silent movie over-acting - it is all subtle.
Marc Barbé stars as L'homme du laboratoire - which is 'The Skilled Laboratory' in English. Barbé is what really adds the common 'surreal' adjective for this film. He is fantastic in his role. He plays Iris's boss, who is cold, stern and mysterious. His character has a fetish for feet/shoes, and begins a sexual relationship with Iris. He is perfect for his role, and was perfect in body language. Despite the sex scenes, he still kept his stern controlling sense about him.
Well to the plot, we open-up on a lemonade factory at the conveyer belt. Iris (Kurylenko) cuts off the end of her ring finger - hence the title - and presumably quits her job. We then open-up with an unknown country and unknown port town. Here Iris attempts to find a job, but eventually finds herself sharing a hotel/motel room with a sailor. Both their work shifts are opposite, because he works nights, and they rarely see each other (usually when they leave or come back from work). There is some small chemistry between the two in the brief moments were they see each other, will they take it further?
Sooner or later Iris stumbles upon an old girls school. In here, there is a preservation laboratory; here they preserve personal artefacts from normal people, so it can be preserved forever, almost everything can be preserved, except a shadow (which is asked in the movie). Iris gets a job as a secretary, taking names for the people.
The plot may sound bland, but it soon turns into an erotic, yet surreal and chilling tale.
This section may not make complete sense if you have not seen, but hopefully it will make you want to watch. The plot may seem very simple, but it is full of many surreal prospects and hidden metaphors. I believe the whole use of preservation of specimens is a metaphor. As Iris works at the former girls' school, she is not allowed into the laboratory where the actual preservation occurs. This often drives Iris's curiosity and jealously, but why can't she? She also comes across many people in this former girls' school, but particularly a little boy. He does not have any obvious relevance to the plot, and is rarely visible from some vantage point, with only one line, "Password". Who is this boy? Is he a ghost? Many questions are asked, but no answers. Do I think it is a ghost? Well this may be a small spoiler, but I remember one part where Barbé said that the woman from 223 left, but you then see her later on. Therefore, this does get you think; there is another when you see the boy, and the women playing with each other throughout the building. Iris watches, but they eventually disappear, so I am thinking ghosts, but then Barbé interacts with the women. So I concluded, "Are they all ghosts, and she's the only real one?"
The shoes, the shoes become a pinnacle point in this film; it is the boss's fetish and driving force in their affair. It is also quote that the shoes are taking her over. Lovely shoes they are, but why did the previous secretary in the photo have the same shoes? Why did he buy her the shoes? I think the shoes are a representation of Barbé's control over Iris, and their controlling relationship.
You come across to a Mah-Jong set, which is one of the best points of the film, as far as cinema photography and direction goes. In addition, the sailor sub-plot gains much interest, but again you ask the question why. I believe the Mah-Jong set, was really showing the cracks of their relationship. That he does not love her, but she is second best to the specimens. This clearly does not go with Iris.
In the end, I can shed nothing on the mysterious ending. It is a very challenging ending, more than Donnie Darko. Due to being relatively unknown, this film has been unanswered, nor has long pages of explanations have been written. I personally believe that there is no answer, and there never will be one. Just like man on Wire when he was asked why he did it, he replied, "There is no why".
Unfortunately, this movie has no awards; its reviews were mostly positive, but still misunderstood. I will say this gets my award for favourite sex scene in movies.
Overall, the film has sumptuous cinema photography, it was absolutely fantastic. The shots were cold, dark and eerie. It was a treat to watch (and with Olga my favourite erotic movie, if you know what I mean...). The acting was superb, despite the limited dialogue; it was the body language, which really enhanced this movie. The low dialogue and heavy use of bodily language created an eerie atmospheric viewing experience.
This film is heavily misunderstood, and deserves so much more appreciation and a larger audience. It often makes me wonder, "If I made a fantastic movie, or possibly the greatest, will it be remembered?" I bet you nine out of ten people do not know who Orson Welles is, or have seen Citizen Kane (do not think it is the greatest film, but for now it is). I would recommend this film to the best of the critics; the ones that I think understand movies and art. This movie has no obvious problems. The ones I can find is that it may be boring for some, but those willing to watch this in the first place would obviously have some knowledge of movies, so very little who watches this will be bored.
The other major problem is the lack of answers. Even Bertrand said in Q&A that this film gives very few answers. Therefore, this was no mistake. As far as I am concerned this is a positive, but some may not find this appealing. If you cannot handle the fact that nothing is set in stone, you will not like this, and it will not be easy for you to see positives. So when people watch this, I would expect mixed reviews, those who like the movie, should really like the movie to a high degree.
This is one of my favourites, and is for being impeccably shot cinema photography and perfectly crafted, yet confusing plot. This film will be an eternal mystery, which ending will be debated for years to come.
This is a movie that will make you question almost everything you see and you won't get any direct, if any, answers. Its rather mysterious and intriguing, but still completely odd. I'll agree with Jhon E., it does have one of the best sex scenes without becoming vile, and the main characters have a sort of hot and cold relationship based on little dialogue, but with a lot of curiosity, and emotion.
The ending, I just couldn't believe it was IT, as it caught me completely off guard since things were starting to get unravel, sort of!!! At the end though, its an amazing movie that will confuse you and mess with your mind... intentionally ;)
"The Ring Finger" is a beguiling, sensual and nuanced movie. It uses an offbeat rhythm to explore a place that might exist out of time, in order to ensure the items will not decay. Iris is not sure how long she has been working at the laboratory, which contains no modern equipment and is lacking any air conditioning. She says two or three weeks but it could be months or even decades. As with any dead end job, where there is not a lot to do, time moves in an odd fashion. A day can feel like a week but before you know it, years have gone by. This might explain why Iris and Costa are not quite in sync.
I like to take chances on foreign films I may not have heard much about. I usually am rewarded for taking those chances. I came up about six numbers short of a Lotto jackpot this time. It was just bad. Crank. Sputter. Cough. Die.....
I lliked Olga .. she is really a very good actor
She falls into a strange sexual relationship with her boss, but there are hints that things may be even stranger than she first imagined.
A true head scratcher of a film, this looks great, though it's possibly a bit too vague for its own good.
Give it a rental if you're feeling adventurous.