PAGE TURNER, THE
In her piano audition, Mélanie Prouvost (Julie Richalet), is distracted when concert pianist and jury chairwoman Ariane Fouchécourt (Catherine Frot) signs an autograph for a fan. Mélanie loses concentration, fails her exam and never plays the piano again. Ten years later, when working as an intern for a law firm, the now grown up Mélanie (Déborah François) volunteers to look after Tristan (Antoine Martynciow), the son of her boss Jean Fouchécourt's (Pascal Greggory) in the holidays. She moves into their home outside Paris, and discovers his wife is none other than the same woman who caused her to give up music. Following a car accident, Ariane has become nervous, and when she learns of Mélanie's musical sensitivity, forms a bond with her and asks her to become her page turner at an upcoming concert.
Review by Louise Keller:
There is an undercurrent of tension throughout this riveting tale of revenge, made all the more effective by the subtlety and restraint used by French writer/director Denis Dercourt. Déborah François is terrifying as Mélanie, the girl with the face of an angel, whose evil intentions are even more chilling by her unobtrusiveness. François is steely eyed and as sweet as pie, as she sets out to destroy Catherine Frot's unsuspecting Ariane. But if you think Mélanie's page turner from hell will be satisfied to simply ruin a musical performance by mis-timing it, think again. Dercourt's Hitchockian thriller has far too much class for that.
The first hint of a dark undertone comes when young Mélanie drops the piano lid on the fingers of another young hopeful practising at the keyboard, when her own audition has failed. Her position as an intern with an esteemed lawyer is one that she obviously pursued meticulously, and we quickly realise, when Mélanie arrives at Ariane's beautiful country home outside Paris, that this situation has been carefully planned. Mélanie swiftly and cleverly becomes indispensable: welcome playmate to Ariane's son Tristan (Antoine Martynciow), and Ariane's integral support system as she turns her music and quietly gives her support. Ariane's vulnerability since a hit and run accident several years prior has made her nervous of performing, and she starts to rely on Mélanie more and more.
The music of Shostakovich and Bach are used to great effect, and the sequence in which Ariane's cellist makes unwanted advances to Mélanie is one you will not forget. There is a secret involving a metronome, a black hen called Jealous and an obsession that is relentless. The Page Turner is an artful suspenser, and one that will keep you guessing until the very last frame
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PAGE TURNER, THE (PG)
Tourneuse de pages, La
CAST: Catherine Frot, Déborah François, Pascal Greggory, Xavier De Guillebon, Christine Citti, Clotilde Mollet, Jacques Bonnaffé
PRODUCER: Michel Saint-Jean
DIRECTOR: Denis Dercourt
SCRIPT: Denis Dercourt, Jacques Sotty
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jérôme Peyrebrune
EDITOR: François Gédigier
MUSIC: Jérôme Lemonnier
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Antoine Platteau
RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Potential Films
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 10, 2007