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copyright ©1999-2000

flick pick | Dreamlife of Angels, The 1999
Directed by: Erick Zonka
Starring: Élodie Bouchez, Natacha Régnier, Grégoire Colin
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: foreign [French]
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:
artsy-fartsy, serious

Plot synopsis Isa is a 21-year old pixie vagabond who, having run out of money, finds herself temporarily stuck in Lille, a small city in northern France. During a short-lived stint working at a clothing factory, Isa befriends Marie, whose icy reserve and stubborn rebelliousness are a polar opposite to Isa’s sunny, carefree disposition. Marie has been house-sitting an apartment for a friend of her aunt’s; the apartment’s inhabitants, a woman and her daughter, have been in an accident and lie comatose at the hospital. Isa soon moves into the daughter’s bedroom and one day, having rifled through some drawers, stumbles across the young girl’s diary. Reading the diary brings her closer to the girl; Isa soon begins visiting her in the hospital, reading aloud to her and talking to her, in an attempt to revive her from her sleep. Meanwhile Marie has become involved in a self-destructive relationship with a handsome young local restaurateur. Isa’s disapproval begins to cause friction between the two friends.

Review In many ways, The Dreamlife of Angels is exactly the sort of movie most people think of when they think of foreign films – subtle, slow-moving, complex, and deliberately ambiguous in its refusal to deliver an ultimate message, it’s a movie that lovers of art-house cinema will adore, and those who prefer mainstream commercial fare should avoid at all costs. Be forewarned: no matter how you interpret the film’s final sequences, this is a real downer of a movie. But it’s sad without being the least bit tear-jerkingly sentimental, and the two stars of the film are both riveting to watch on-screen.



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