Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5
Original title: Noir Ocean
Belgium/Germany/France, 2010. Man’s Films Productions, Asap Films, Neue Pegasos Films, Arte France Cinéma, ZDF/Arte, Radio Télévision Belge Francophone, Rhône-Alpes Cinéma, Tax Shelter ING Invest de Tax Shelter Productions, Casa Kafka Pictures, MEDIA Programme of the European Union, Région Wallone, Bruxelles Capitale, Région Rhône-Alpes, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Collectivité Territoriale de la Corse, Région Guadeloupe, CinéCinéma, Belgacom. Screenplay by Marion Hansel, based on short stories by Hubert Mingarelli. Cinematography by Jan Vancaillie. Produced by Marc Baschet, Marion Hansel, Cedomir Kolar, Ernst Szebedits, Elena Trifonova. Music by Rene-Marc Bini. Production Design by Thierry Leproust. Costume Design by Van Tax. Film Editing by Michele Hubinont.
Young sailors are fulfilling their naval duties on a French ship bound for Mururoa Island in the Pacific in 1972. The purpose is to go to the middle of the ocean and drop nuclear bombs for testing, but the lives of these boys are in emotional stasis as they contemplate their own coming of age while setting it against the terror of what they are about to witness.
For one particular sailor, it is a process of quiet observation and the relationship he develops with the very charming canine who inhabits the vessel, who immediately takes to him as his constant companion; for another it is a very affecting experience that opens his eyes to real horror.
This gorgeous, meditative film never makes a false move, every shot a wonder to behold and the poignancy of its characterizations always sharp. Director Marion Hänsel gets a wonderful sense of anticipation out of the minimal story and then allows the fallout of the actual bomb test, which is a magnificent and terrifying sequence, to really sink in before the finale. An excellent tone poem of exceptional grace and beauty.
Toronto International Film Festival: 2010