Sous le sable (Under the Sand) (2001)
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Critic Reviews for Sous le sable (Under the Sand)
Under The Sand lifts the phantom-spouse syndrome to the level of art, yet another dimension for this popular form.
It crawls under the skin by placing you firmly in the shoes of the mourner.
It's hard even to describe the movie without making it sound trite. Rather, by showing behavior, the film gets at the emotional truth that underlies it.
Both of these Ozon films can do what few directors have mastered. They can make us feel exactly what the director intends, without overt or obvious cues.
Ozon shoots it all with such haunting economy and breathless intimacy, and Rampling acts it with such candor and recklessness, that the film keeps lingering in your mind after you see it.
Audience Reviews for Sous le sable (Under the Sand)
Beautiful and heartfelt. Another gem from the very robust French cinema industry. This is a truly moving depiction of the mourning process. Ozon does a great job.
François Ozon's films, even those that aren't entirely successful, are always worth seeing, and Sous le Sable is certainly no exception. This is one of his "deceptively simple" films, that, like Le Refuge, explores one or two themes but in realistic, surprising and moving ways. Here, Charlotte Rampling offers a quietly impressive role as Marie, whose husband Jean goes for a swim in the sea whilst vacationing and is never seen again, apparently drowned. Marie refuses to accept that he is gone, even his physical presence, let alone his life, and thinks of him and refers to him in the present tense, her grief too awful, traumatic, impossible to 'indulge' in. Deeply complex, the film concentrates almost only on her denial and how she is able (initially) to make excuses for Jean's absence in her life, and at home when alone, imagine he is there (though 'imagine' is not strictly true - delusional is more appropriate but that word also has connotations of madness that may not apply). It's not easy viewing in any sense of the word, but Ozon is absolutely in control of all the elements and Rampling's performance, which seems perpetually on the edge of shattering, is nothing less than perfectly observed, but also restrained, understated, all in facial expressions (see also the work of Kristin Scott-Thomas and Lauren Ambrose). An extraordinary film.
Complex drama of grief and its effects on one woman. Minimal dialogue and maximum emotional truth are on display. Charlotte Rampling is a marvel.
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