Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. France, 2000. Canal+, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Les Films du Camélia, MACT Productions, Procirep, TF1 International. Screenplay by Francois Dumas, Raoul Ruiz, based on the novel by Massimo Bontempelli. Cinematography by Jacques Bouquin. Produced by Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre, Martine de Clermont-Tonnerre. Music by Jorge Arriagada. Production Design by Bruno Beauge. Costume Design by Nathalie Raoul. Film Editing by Mireille Hannon. Toronto International Film Festival 2000.
Fascinating drama that takes on metaphysical proportions as young Camille celebrates his ninth birthday and then announces to his bourgeois mother (Isabelle Huppert) that he is not her son and wishes to be taken home. She treats the news like the bratty behaviour of the age until he reveals knowledge of names and addresses that he couldn’t have known, and she follows him on a trail to the home of a woman (Jeanne Balibar) whose own son died two years before in a drowning accident. Huppert is still sceptical, but once she realizes that she is losing her child to another woman, decides to do whatever it takes to keep her family together. Raoul Ruiz’s direction is beautifully absorbing, eliciting from the magnificent lead actress a performance that is instantly heartbreaking and enigmatic at the same time, and the screenplay is excellent.