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WHEN THE SEA RISES
aka QUAND LA MER MONTE
USA: New Yorker
Cast: Yolande Moreau, Wim Willaert, Olivier Gourmet, Jacky Berroyer Bethune, Philippe Duquesne, Bouli Lanners, Jacques Bonnafe, Severine Caneele, Jan Hammenecker, Vincent Mahieu
Directors: Gilles Porte and Yolande Moreau
Countries: France / Belgium
Language: French (English subtitles)
USA: 93 mins
USA Release Date: 13 January 2006 (Limited Release - New York)
WHEN THE SEA RISES (Winner 2005 Cesar, Best First Film) is a sweet and genuinely off-beat romantic comedy written and directed by acclaimed French comedienne Yolande Moreau (AMELIE, THE HORSEMAN ON THE ROOF, VAGABOND) and cinematographer Gilles Porte.
Showcasing outstanding performances by Moreau (Winner 2005 Cesar, Best Actress) and newcomer Wim Willaert, WHEN THE SEA RISES tells the story of Irene (Moreau), a 45-year-old actress traveling from one small town to another with her one-woman show, "Dirty Business." Slyly funny in her masked onstage persona, Irene is a genial pro at touring alone, phoning home to her husband and child and sleeping in a new hotel each night. Things change when a scooter-driving vagabond named Dries (Willaert) fixes her stalled car. After accepting an invitation to her show, Dries soon appears at every stop on tour as her "randomly selected" audience participant. What develops is a remarkably natural and tender affair between two true eccentrics, their exuberance and playfulness mixing with a mature, mutual longing.
Irene's spare stage show alternates with scenes set against northern France's oddly lush industrial landscape. From majestic tree-lined streets and rolling farmland to beachfront factories and smoky pubs, Porte's camera vividly captures a singularly beautiful region. Moreau and Porte's debut is a lovingly made and deeply personal film. WHEN THE SEA RISES evokes Moreau's own life in theater, revisiting some of the same stages and towns that she toured earlier in her career. It is also a bittersweet valentine to the intensely intimate (and cruelly transient) nature of love on the road.