Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Original title: Le Septieme Ciel
France, 1997. Canal+, Centre National de la Cinématographie, , Dacia Films, Screenplay by Benoit Jacquot, Jerome Beaujour. Cinematography by Romain Winding. Produced by Georges Benayoun, Philippe Carcassonne. Production Design by Arnaud de Moleron. Costume Design by Caroline de Vivaise. Film Editing by Pascale Chavance.
A happily married Parisian housewife is suddenly stricken with catatonia, unable to continue her work and completely adrift in her relationship with her husband and son. After several fainting spells and a few bouts with kleptomania, she seeks the help of a hypnotist (François Berléand) whose sessions get at the root of her problems and allow her to re-enter her life with a fresh attitude. Unfortunately, her husband’s inability to see either her frustration or the benefits of her cure descends into jealousy and rage, becoming more and more desperate as she becomes more secure. This modern-day slice of life from Benoit Jacquot benefits from the superb performances and the natural feel that one comes to expect from his films, but none of the characters are particularly compelling. A serious lack of depth in the hypnosis scenes is a particular drawback, as it keeps us from really caring about the stone-faced lead character’s development. It’s a pleasant enough experience, but those with a strong catalogue of exceptional French character studies in their repertoire are advised to keep moving.
Toronto International Film Festival: 1997
Venice Film Festival: In Competition