INNOCENCE

Director:
Lucile Hadzihalilovic

Screenplay:
Lucile Hadzihalilovic, based on the novella “Mine-Haha, or The Corporal Education of Young Girls” by Frank Wedekind

Cast:
Iris: Zoé Auclair
Bianca: Bérangère Haubruge
Mlle Eva: Marion Cotillard
Mlle Edith: Hélène de Fougerolles

Awards:
Young Director’s Prize, San Sebastian Film Festival (2004)
Best Film & Best Cinematography, Stockholm Film Festival (2004)

Running time: 115’
Production: France / Belgium
United Kingdom, 2004
Rating: Not Rated
Gauge: 35mm, DVD (color)

Distributor:
Leisure Time Features




“Hadzihalilovic steadfastly resists the temptation to explain the strange universe she presents. Those expecting answers may be frustrated but the spell cast by her haunting film lingers long after the closing credits, like a damp mist after a storm.” The Hollywood Reporter

A subterranean rumbling resonates in the heart of a forest. Hidden by foliage, a metal grate reveals underground passageways leading to a boarding school separated from the outside world by a huge wall. A group of young schoolgirls opens a coffin only to find six-year-old Iris. Bianca, the oldest student, introduces Iris to this strange world where there are neither men nor adults except the old servants and two young teachers: Mesdemoiselles Edith and Eva. Iris quickly discovers the rules of the school where teaching centers on dance, physical education and biology. Obedience is paramount and any boarder who rebels or escapes is condemned to serve the others forever. Nothing overly dramatic happens in Innocence, but the anxiety and fear the film provokes force the viewer to wonder what will take place next. Everything indicates that these girls are being groomed for something. Is it a rite of passage preparing them for puberty and adulthood, or something sinister? Lucile Hadzihalilovic creates a world oscillating between realism and fantasy through astute lighting, intense colors, and virtually no background music.

 
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