Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sea Change: Regarde la Mer/See the Sea

Quite a nasty bit of filmmaking. François Ozon (Swimming Pool, Under the Sand) really knows how to create uneasiness with little. A young woman (Sasha Hails) with her ten month old baby are left alone in a house by the sea. She is a typical bourgeois housewife, bored, waiting for her husband to return. One day, a drifter (Marina de Van) asks if she could set up a tent in the young mother's yard. She first relents then agrees, not out of goodness of her heart but rather out of boredom. Then after a while she invites the girl in for meals and a bath. The ragged vagabond girl seems not so friendly and not too receptive around the baby either. With large emotionless eyes and tough attitude, she could be a sociopath waiting to go off. Aren't you scared traveling alone? The clueless housewife asks her over dinner. I'm the one who scares, the vagabond retorts then picks up the plate and proceeds to lick the plate clean.

Punctuated by masturbation scenes and an anonymous sex encounter in the woods, Regarde la Mer accomplishes something quite remarkable where many psychological thrillers fail, in its taut 52 minute running time. Marina de Van plays probably the scariest character I've seen in a movie for quite some time.