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UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Zoe Auclair, Marion Cotillard, Helene de Fougerolles, Laisson Lalieux, Astrid Homme, Lea Bridarolli, Ana Palomo-Diaz, Berangere Haubruge, Olga Peytavi-Muller, Veronique Nordey, Corinne Marchand, Sonia Petrovna, Micheline Hadzihalilovic
Director: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
Countries: France / Belgium / UK
Language: French (English subtitles)
UK: 115 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains moderate nudity and sex
UK Release Date: 30 September 2005
INNOCENCE is the strikingly unique debut feature by writer director Lucile Hadzihalilovic. Hadzihalilovic so far has been known for her association with the French director Gasper Noe. Editing Noe's debut SEUL CONTRE TOUS (I STAND ALONE), and Noe has shot one of Hadzihalilovic mini features THE EYES OF JEAN-PIERRE. With the release of INNOCENCE Lucile Hadzihalilovic will be regarded as a new French talent to watch.
INNOCENCE is a dark, yet beautiful fable that contrasts the atmosphere of the dark gothic horror writings of both Shelley and Poe, with the light of youthful purity. INNOCENCE is a starling debut feature, that explores themes of maturity, understanding, friendship, loss and happiness as young girls prepare for their ascent into womanhood.
A subterranean rumbling resonates in the heart of a forest. Hidden by foliage, a metal grate reveals underground passageways, which lead to the cellars of five houses scattered throughout a great park. The park is cut off from the outside world by a huge wall with no door.
In one of these houses, a group of girls aged between seven and twelve gathers around a coffin. The coffin lid opens, revealing a six-year-old girl. Her name is Iris.
Bianca, the eldest of the group, introduces Iris into this strange but pleasant boarding school, home to some thirty little girls. There are no adults here, save for several old servants and two young teachers: Mademoiselle Edith (Helene de Fougerolles) and Mademoiselle Eva (Marion Cotillard).
"This film, which takes as its principal actors young dancers aged between six and twelve, is inspired by Frank Wedekind's novel "Mine-Haha" ("Laughing Waters" in a Native American dialect), written in 1888 and subtitled "The Corporal Education of Young Girls". "Shot in Cinemascope, and set in a timeless present evocative of the 1960s, INNOCENCE is not, strictly speaking, a fantasy film, but simply a child's eye vision of real life." - Lucile Hadzihalilovic