Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Adam of Club Silencio here with a quick addition to the 2004 countdown. Lucile Hadzihalilovic's haunting and metaphorical mood piece about female adolescence, Innocence, is one of 2004's unsung and eerie treasures from across the pond.
Girls arrive by coffin at a mysterious woodland locale only to be sent away when they reach a certain age. They're taught lessons of nature and dance, but remain unversed in the deeper mysteries that surround them. What lies beyond the confines of the woods, and what are the strange passageways that stretch beneath the forest floor? French auteur Gaspar Noé (husband and stylistic confidant to Hadzihalilovic) supplies his regular cinematographer, Benoît Debie, to create unforgettably sumptuous and evocative imagery to recall the abstract mystery of youth and bubbling sexuality beneath the surface.
Fans of Marion Cotillard, creepy children and atmospheric dread take definite note. Lucile Hadzihalilovic is a female director to watch -- successfully creating resonant themes by wholly ambiguous means. Innocence is like a stroll through the woods, or the peak of one's sexuality: a curious descent into the beautiful, dark unknown.