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Under the Sand
Under the Sand
Actors: Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Jacques Nolot, Alexandra Stewart, Pierre Vernier
Director: François Ozon
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
UR     2001     1hr 32min

Named one of People Mag's "Most Beautiful People", Charlotte Rampling gives one of her most acclaimed performances in Francois Ozon's mesmerizing tale of loss and grief. For many years, Marie and Jean have happily spent t...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Jacques Nolot, Alexandra Stewart, Pierre Vernier
Director: François Ozon
Creators: Antoine Héberlé, François Ozon, Marc Missonnier, Olivier Delbosc, Emmanuèle Bernheim, Marcia Romano, Marina de Van
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Fox Lorber
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 11/27/2001
Original Release Date: 05/04/2001
Theatrical Release Date: 05/04/2001
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 32min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 7
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, French

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Movie Reviews

Smart, Poignant View of Grieving
Eric Anderson | London, United Kingdom | 04/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Charlotte Rampling gives a fantastic performance in this slow, but elegantly portrayed film of a woman's grief over the disappearance of her husband on a holiday to the seaside. Her manner of self assured optimism in the face the loss of her husband is deeply moving in its strident motives of self-deception. The long shots of Rampling contemplating the empty space of her apartment and the unexpected appearance of her husband leave the viewer gripped in anticipation of whether or not her fabricated reality will continue or shatter around her feet. Most fitfully, her character is a lecturer on fiction and is discussing with her students Virginia Woolf's `The Waves.' This is an interesting reference to Woolf's great experimental novel dealing with ageing, loss and the timorous bonds between individuals. Rampling's character inhabits the struggle with dealing with these elements in life and embodies a contradiction in their acceptance that cannot be reconciled. What this film captures so elegantly are the physical touches and familiar routines of a long-term love. The habit of her love for her husband is represented in her movements and the interaction she has with her husband's "ghost" or "shadow." The end, purposely and rightfully, does not give away whether or not her denial over her husband's death will be accepted or eternally refused. This is a haunting, delicately beautiful film."
The Best Film of 2001
Eric Anderson | 07/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Under the Sand may be the most astoundingly beautiful film all year, not to mention one of the most heartbreaking portraits of grief on the screen since The Sweet Hereafter. It's sober, solemn, and somehow liberating--I feel more human now that it's over, and seeing it has become a pleasurable thing to look back on. The film, about a woman in her fifties (Charlotte Rampling) whose husband disappears on the beach and is never seen again, is a fascinating examination of loss and a profoundly moving film about love. It is fiercely unsentimental, almost bitterly angry at times, in the way that we curse those we love who have left us without warning. The brilliant final shots, which do absolutely nothing to explain what really happened to the husband, or what will happen to the wife, make exactly the right ending. Rampling is the most perfect thing about the film--never before has her total prescence been so apparent on the screen, and the effect is astonishing. Time has only worked to ripen her unusual, angular radiance; she's luminous and sensual in every act we watch her perform. The film's images, each so clean and smooth, unable to contain their own natural brilliance, are sheer poetry: fingers, clutching sand; the way that light and water can distort the human figure; the buttering of a piece of toast; finally, the canvas of the human body and the beauty of its conjunction with another in an act of love. Under the Sand is a reminder of what love and loss really are--you can see them in nearly every shot of Charlotte Rampling's unforgettable, candid face."
......... and God created Charlotte!
LGwriter | 03/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"AND Thank God for creating this lovely creature!She's quite, quite timeless and always the epitome of excellent taste, manner and beauty. This time she's the wife - the [better?] half of a middle-aged marriage, a couple still very much in love on vacation - spending time at the beach, but then he disappears - completely, and we're not quite sure if he will be found, or if he is found ...... a sinister journey .....It asks the question - How long can we remember the Dead? Can we really recall the voice, the smell, the intimate touches shared? AND if we do - how long can we hold this memory? No, it's not 'Donna Flor and her Two Husbands' [or for that matter the odd remake with Sally Field]. This one's so real and Miss Rampling under the expert hands of director Francois Ozon pulls us through this hall of crackling mirrors. It's Euridice searching for Orpheus, or is it?Not wanting to betray more of this odyssey, it's best to snuggle up on the couch on a rainy day, alone, [small fire blazing in the hearth, waves crashing outside, small sherry, dry], and watch this story unfold.A profound journey, hypnotic, AND somewhat of a 6th sense ending - maybe .......... that's up to the viewer!More Miss Rampling, please!"
Life, Death, Grieving, Loss and Coping
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"François Ozon is a rare director, one who takes a simple story, places it in the eyes and bodies of his cast, and simply lets the tale tell itself. SOUS LE SABLE (UNDER THE SAND) is an unforgettable film experience that probes deeply into our psyches, hearts, and reason: how do we cope with sudden death?

Opening quietly in the French countryside, a loving middle-aged couple begins a brief vacation in a family house, quietly and lovingly going about removing dustcovers, opening shuttered windows - settling in for a time of being alone together. Marie (Charlotte Rampling) is a professor of English in Paris (her specialty is Virginia Woolf) and Jean (Bruno Cremer) is her retired husband. Their long-term love is palpable: Ozon provides almost no dialogue, as none is needed to establish this special relationship, so powerful is the non-verbal communication between Rampling and Cremer. They visit the beach the next day and while Marie is sunbathing, Jean goes for a swim - and never returns. Marie searches for him, engages lifeguards, and ultimately returns to Paris, trembling but intact. Months later, while Jean is never found, we see Marie reacting as though he still exists. She visualizes him in various situations and the two actors (yes, Jean is present in these scenes) interact as though nothing has changed. But Marie's friends note with great concern that she is 'delusional' and make various attempts for her to seek professional and emotional help. When news eventually arrives that Jean's body has been found, she internally denies this possibility but eventually returns to the vacation house town to identify the bloated corpse. Even at this point, though obviously in shock, she denies that the corpse is that of her beloved Jean. She walks back to the site where she last saw Jean and in the distance a figure rekindles her hope...

Charlotte Rampling delivers a performance wholly committed. She communicates the spectrum of feelings of this challenged strong woman with her eyes, her gazes in the mirror, her interaction with her class of students, her friends, her admirer with such power that makes her Marie a wholly credible creature stricken by loss yet surviving in her chosen manner. It is one of the great performances of cinema. The entire small cast of this film is perfection. Ozon is a magical director and continues to prove he is one of the most honest and quietly powerful figures in today's cinema. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, July 05"