15 February 2010

Sous le sable (Under the Sand)

It was hard not to compare this film to The Vanishing or even Frantic, only this plays out exactly the opposite: what if your loved one suddenly disappeared one day and you never looked for them, ever?

Since I've been watching understated, observational dramas and thinking about writing, I was really focused on the way we see (or don't see) the choices and actions our protagonist makes. For the most part we only see Marie avoiding confrontation and living with the consequences of her unconscious decisions. The only times we see her step up and make decisions are whenever she gets backed into a corner -- and invariably these are the best, most memorable moments. By skipping over her first initial decision and letting us slowly acclimate to its aftermath, we have a really different experience watching her reinforce that decision later on, with increasingly bolder and more desperate decisions. That is to say, we see her stand by her unconscious choice from the beginning in the face of mounting obstacles and higher stakes.

It gives me something to think about, as the story I'm working on is all based on one crazy decision made by my joint-protagonist couple.

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