The Page Turner DVD
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Directed by Denis Dercourt
Produced in 2006
Main Language - FRENCH with English subtitles
Ariane, a renowned concert pianist, absent-mindedly signs an autograph and unconsciously seals her fate in Denis Dercourt's marvellous, suspenseful new film The Page Turner (aka La Tourneuse de Pages). Her unthinking behaviour has distracted the piano recital of Mélanie (Déborah François), a serious child protégé who has vowed she will never play again if the recital goes badly. She fluffs the audition, and Mélanie gives up her practice, but years later she encounters Ariane (who does not recognise her) again, and agrees to work as her page-turner. Will she exact her revenge?
The tension is expertly handled by Dercourt, and he continually surprises the audience. It is expected that Mélanie will deliberately fumble the page-turning at the film's denouement, ruining the musician's comeback performance, yet the crucial concert takes place some time before the conclusion, and does not unfold as one may suspect. The director toys with expectations throughout - Mélanie's reaction when a lecherous musician makes a pass at her is shocking precisely because of her previous restrained behaviour.
François is one of the most exciting young actresses at work today. After a brilliant performance in the Dardennes'
L'Enfant as the vulnerable mother whose boyfriend sells her baby, she confirms her talent as the sinister Mélanie, a vengeful girl expert at duping those close to her. She is no stock villainess, however - at one point she lets her façade break, beaming with genuine delight when she encounters an old friend. She is a complex, unpredictable protagonist, and all the more fascinating because of it. Catherine Frot is also superb as Ariane - vulnerable and anxious enough so we empathise with her, yet inconsiderate and haughty so that are sympathies are torn.
With so much suspenseful build-up, the film needs to deliver a killer ending, and Dercourt, who is already drawing favourable comparisons to Claude Chabrol, does not disappoint. A shot of cruel irony, beautifully played and sublimely subdued in its terrible implications for one of the characters, it is the perfect ending to a highly impressive thriller.
Alex Davidson on 12th March 2007
Author of 238 reviews
With her musical ambitions thwarted by the thoughtless behaviour of the chairwoman of the jury at her entrance exam, Mélanie gives up the piano. Ten years later she comes into contact with the woman's husband who notices her efficiency and invites her into his home to look after his son. Madame, a concert pianist, warms to Melanie when her apparent musical sensitivity comes out and asks that she become her page turner. Melanie accepts, putting in her an excellent position to exact retribution.
Publisher: Artificial Eye
Length: 97 mins
Aspect ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic Wide Screen
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 26th March 2007
Cat No: ART338DVD
- Interviews with Denis Dercourt and Deborah Francois
- Cast and crew filmographies.
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