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THE PAGE TURNER
aka LA TOURNEUSE DE PAGES
USA: Tartan Films USA
UK: Artificial Eye
Cast: Catherine Frot, Deborah François, Pascal Greggory, Xavier De Guillebon, Christine Citti, Clotilde Mollet, Jacques Bonnaffe, Antoine Martynciow, Julie Richalet, Martine Chevallier, Andre Marcon, Ariele Butaux, Michele Ernou, François Guillaume, Julie Primot, Daniele Renaud
Director: Denis Dercourt
Language: French (English subtitles)
USA & UK: 85 mins
UK Certificate: 15 contains moderate violence
USA Release Date: 23 March 2007 (Limited Release - New York)
UK Release Date: 3 November 2006
Denis Dercourt's fifth feature THE PAGE TURNER (LA TOURNEUSE DE PAGES) is a brilliantly made and emotionally taught thriller, which centres on a thwarted young pianist played by Deborah François (the young mother in the Dardenne Brothers L'ENFANT). Dercourt, himself a professional viola player and conservatory professor, gives a compelling and subtle rendition of the cloistered world of chamber music.
Melanie, aged about ten, seems to have a special gift for the piano. She takes the Conservatory entrance exam, but fails after being distracted by the thoughtless behaviour of the chairwoman of the jury Adriane Fouchecourt (Catherine Frot), a well know concert pianist. Bitterly disappointed, Melanie gives up the piano forever.
Ten years later, Melanie (Deborah François) meets Mr Fouchecourt (Pascal Greggory), the husband of the woman who without a doubt changed her life. Soon, Mr Fouchecourt recruits her into his home to look after his son. Mrs Fouchecourt soon warms to Melanie when her musical sensitivity comes out, and the young woman becomes her personal page turner...
The entire cast give excellent performances, but none more so than as the deliciously self-possessed and coolly calculating Melanie while Catherine Frot exhibits a delicate vulnerability. A contemporary score is perfectly integrated with pieces by Shostakovich, Bach and Schubert, to give a mood of expectant unease.
Director Denis Dercourt
"The main thread of LA TOURNEUSE DE PAGES (THE PAGE TURNER) is a story of revenge, but behind it is a growing element of something more ambiguous, where fascination and attraction merge into manipulation. The film is about class revenge and its psychological translation but since music making is primarily a physical act, I felt that this revenge also had to be physical, provoking.
"I was surprised to discover how similar the mechanisms of suspense are to the techniques of writing music: they both include the same ideas of tension/relaxation, slowing down and speeding up, cadences, variations in tempo, pauses, climaxes etc.
"The page turner's role is one of self-effacement: she comes on stage after the soloists, she remains seated for the applause and does not seem to contribute to their success in any way, and yet a page turned too early or too late can upset the whole performance. This potential for danger is even more fascinating because the audience can hardly suspect it."