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The Page Turner

One of the breakout hits from this year

The teenage Belgian actress Deborah Francois, impressive in the Dardenne brothers' "L'Enfant", excels in this intelligently understated revenge drama from writer/director Denis Dercourt. She plays butcher's daughter Melanie, an eerily self-possessed young woman, who insinuates herself into the household of married concert pianist Ariane (Catherine Frot), who herself is oblivious to the real reasons for her new employee's scrupulous attentiveness. Accompanied by a menacing classical score, "The Page Turner" is pleasingly reminiscent of Claude Chabrol's perverse thrillers.The principal location in "The Page Turner" is the imposing country mansion inhabited by Ariane, her lawyer husband Jean (Pascal Greggory) and their young son, and it proves a choice setting for a sinister story of class envy and simmering emotions. With her scraped-back hair, impassive demeanour and flat shoes, Melanie passes through the deserted corridors like a modern-day version of Hitchcock's Mrs Danvers from "Rebecca", materializing in rooms without warning. Quickly, the servant becomes indispensable to the highly-strung Ariane, who gives Melanie the crucial role of being the page-turner at her recitals, and who finds herself falling for her new employee.Making intelligent use of the different spaces and levels within the house and garden, including an underground swimming pool, Dercourt also understands the impact of one strategic ally-placed piece of violence in making us fear for what Melanie might do to those around her. And when the filmmaker delivers a psychologically satisfying coup de grace, it's all the more memorable because it doesn'tput in his film.Tom Dawson, BBC Film

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Directed by: 
Denis Dercourt
Running Time: 
French with Englsih subtitles
Catherine Frot, Deborah Francois, Pascal Greggory, Clotilde Mollet
Screenplay by: 
Denis Dercourt, Jacques Sotty

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