Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Page Turner|
Actors: Catherine Frot, Pascal Greggory, DEBORAH FRANCOIS, Xavier De Guillebon, Jacques Bonnaffé
Director: Denis Dercourt
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Video & Concerts, Mystery & Suspense
Ten year-old Melanie has a special gift for the piano. But during her entrance recital for the Conservatory, she is distracted by the thoughtless behavior of Ariane, a well-known concert pianist. Melanie fails the exam and... more »
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MICHAEL ACUNA | Southern California United States | 04/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tight as a clenched fist ready to bloody someone's eye, intelligent, crystal clear in its intentions and actions, Denis Dercourt's terrific "The Page Turner" is wicked, perverse and anti-social in the very best sense. Like the best anti-heroes, Melanie Prouvost (a chilly, single-minded, Deborah Francois) knows what she wants, knows what/who her target is and knows how to achieve her goals. And in this case her target is the famous, though emotionally and professionally fragile classical pianist, Ariane Fouchecourt (sexy, sophisticated, sleek, tragic Catherine Frot) and by extension Ariane's family: husband Jean (Pascal Greggory) and her son, also a pianist, Laurent.
Melanie is out for total annihilation and her methods are as subtle as a Cobra ingesting defenseless small birds: there is no way that her prey can escape.
Director/Screenwriter Dercourt has fashioned a film that is tightly paced (a mere 94 minutes, not one ounce of fat here) and expertly acted but what is particularly impressive in its humanity and its knowing appreciation of the workings of the human mind is the reason, the impetus for Melanie's campaign against Ariane.
Rocky Raccoon | Boise, ID | 07/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"French film `The Page Turner' plays at a perfect pace. Methodically, we get a drama about lost opportunities that have movements of significance in people's lives. As a composite the story hits all the right notes.
Melanie (Deborah Francois) is a child prodigy. She awaits her big chance to make it as a pianist. At a large try-out, she plays beautifully until someone walks in with a photo for one of the judges to sign. Then, she falters. From that heartbreaking moment, the film leaps ahead to a movement in her life many years later when she gets a job as a secretary apprentice at a law firm. Neatly, she overhears that her employer, Jean (Pascal Gregory) needs a caretaker for Tristan, his only son. He instantly accepts her overture to fill the position, and her whole life changes. In their countryside mansion outside of Paris, she hooks up with all the charm of being a caretaker and assistant. Since both of Melanie's parents are butchers, she takes easily to cooking fare for the family. Her role expands, though. Luck has it that his wife, Ariane (Catherine Fro) is a concert pianist, and Melanie is able to give Tristan some piano lessons. From here her meticulousness lends itself to other privileged duties up to and including the entrusted role of page turner for Ariane's consequential radio concert. Like a fairy tale, they both bond, and Ariane assists Melanie with make-up and perfume. Melanie has a special touch to encourage Tristan to push himself and help Ariane to get over her trepidation to perform after a car accident two years earlier made her falter on stage. Can Ariane and Melanie deliver each other from their past?
Everything doesn't always go well, but the development and outcome are meant to be seen. 'The Page Turner' reminded me of the sort of movie that could easily become a hall-of-fame winner for 'The Lifetime Channel'. With subtlety and understatement, 'The Page Turner' is indeed a classic.
A fine, unsettling movie that makes us assume the worst may
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 05/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Twelve-year-old Melanie Prouvost is determined to become a world-class pianist. She practices with a single-mindedness which is daunting. She arrives with her mother at a conservatory where she will perform a difficult piece before a panel of judges. Many other children are competing. If she wins, her chances for a wonderful career will lie in front of her. As she takes her place at the piano and begins, one of the judges, a famous concert pianist, motions in a fan who wants an autograph. The judge whispers something, takes out a pen, thinks a moment, writes on the photo and returns it to the fan. Melanie's concentration is broken. She stops, tries to recover and performs badly. Afterwards, the judge simply comments that there was no reason for Melanie to stop. On the way out of the conservatory, Melanie suddenly pushes down the key cover on a piano when another girl is practicing, nearly crushing the girl's fingers. Melanie arrives home and locks her piano for good.
Several years later, Melanie (Deborah François), now a striking young woman, applies for and is accepted as an intern in a law office. She learns a senior partner needs someone to look after his young son while he is away for several weeks on business. His wife works and cannot always be available. When Melanie says she'd happily look after the boy, she is accepted. And when she arrives at the country manor, 25 miles outside Paris, we learn that the mother was in an auto accident and is still emotionally fragile. The woman, Ariane Fouchecourt (Catherine Frot), indeed works. She is a world-class pianist who now performs as part of a trio. And, yes, she was the judge who so thoughtlessly ruined Melanie's life ambition. She doesn't even remember the incident. Now we realize Melanie remembers all too well.
All along we've noted how quiet Melanie is. She observes; sometimes there will be the smallest of smiles. Melanie becomes almost indispensable to Ariane, who suffers stage fright now. Melanie becomes her page turner, the person who sits next to a pianist and turns the pages of the score as the pianist plays on. She begins to give Ariane confidence. We're not sure where the movie is heading. All we know is that a number of uneasy things happen that could be explained away. Melanie gains the confidence of Tristan, the boy, but twice seems to place him in positions of peril that don't quite happen. She opens some letters and smiles just a bit, but we're not sure why. She subtly seems to be almost wooing Ariane, yet shows no particular interest. We remember Melanie is the daughter of butchers and know she must be familiar with slicing into meat. Does this mean we'll soon be watching her turn Tristan into lamb chops? The movie keeps us off balance. While it's possible that at some point we'll realize that Melanie still loves the piano and we may end with her giving Ariane back confidence while Ariane decides to work with Melanie on a career for her, we also realize that the movie just might end the way Claude Chabrol's La Cérémonie does, with a slaughter fired by resentment and rage.
No one dies in this movie, just the soul of one of the characters. The Page Turner is a not-quite-a-thriller thriller, and is all the more disturbing because of it. François and Frot give marvelous performances, with François unnervingly calm and Frot fragile to a fault. This was only Deborah François' second movie. At 19, she almost out-Hupperts Isabelle Huppert.
There is some great music in the movie. The trio, with Melanie as the page turner for Ariane, does a rehearsal of Shostakovich's opus 67, trio in E minor. It's terrific. The Page Turner is almost as good at keeping us off balance."
Nicely Tunned Piano
Alex Udvary | chicago, il United States | 07/27/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
""The Page Turner" brings to mind the work of French master filmmaker Claude Chabrol, Michael Haneke's "The Piano Teacher" and "The Bad Seed". It's an odd mixture and "The Page Turner" doesn't quite live up to any of them but that's okay, because what it does do it does well enough where the film is entertaining.
Melanie Prouvost (played as a child by Julie Richalet and as an adult by Deboran Francois) has a love of music. She studies the piano every day. She comes from a moderate income family, her parents are butchers. They do what they can to support Melanie in her piano studies. One day at a competition Melanie will meet fammed pianist Ariane Fouchecourt (Catherine Frot). While Melanie is playing her piece Ariane gives a fan her autograph. This throws the young girl off and thus her playing suffers.
It is at that exact moments Melanie decides to never again play the piano. Why put all that time and effort into something which she will never excell at?
Years go by and now Melanie has grown into a beautiful woman looking for an intership at a law firm run by Jean (Pascal Greggory). It turns out Jean is looking for someone to watch his son as he heads out of town and keep an eye on his wife, whom after a car accident has become very sensitive and dependent on others.
Seeking a chance for career advancement perhaps Melanie agrees and as the fates would have it, Jean's wife turns out to be Ariane. At this point Ariane does not recongize Melanie but there's no mistaking Melanie knows who she is.
You don't have to be a genuis to figure out where the film is going to go. Melanie wants some revenge on the woman who destroyed her life and took the one thing which gave her enjoyment.
The film, directed by young filmmaker Denis Dercourt, is tightly scripted and paced. There is not much excess fat to what is on screen. The film runs 80 minutes, so no time is wasted getting to the heart of the story. Yet, somehow I felt cheated. There are big payoffs we expect to happen but the film teases us. We think we are going to go down certain paths and we are never taken down them. Was it a sly move or a rookie mistake?
If we compared the film to Chabrol's work or "The Piano Teacher" Melanie isn't as cold as Isabelle Huppert. It could be because of the age difference the two. Huppert has made a lenghty career playing the cold hearted, blank expressioned woman with murder on their mind. But the film in general isn't nearly as "evil" as it should be. Melanie should be inflicking more damage to these people. She isn't as ruthless as I would have liked her to be. She has seeds, glimmering moments when she shows hints of true evilness, but it never becomes full-scale cold hearted vindictiveness.
The film still is worth seeing. Overall the performances are worth watching. Catherine Frot is convincing has a one time great pianist who now depends on the kindness of strangers and Pascal Greggory plays the upper-class, boring husband quite well. Just as he did in "Gabrielle". And Francois is clearly an up and coming talent. She was in "L' Enfant" and nominated for a Cesar (France's Oscar) award for "most promising actress". The film was also nominated for "best actress" (Frot). Plus Dercourt has talent. He's not at Claude Chabrol level yet but with time it will come.
Botom-line: Nicely made thriller with a good cast. Near the ends feels like a bit of a letdown because it doesn't deliver on certain payoffs we were expecting. Still, whatever the film does it does well."