on September 21, 2013
Although I shouldn't like this mystery thriller with ghostly subscript because it's implausible, the characters don't react like real human beings,they all behave like people locked in their own fantasies,they have no normal emotions.The film if shot in England would be ridiculous and collapse like a pack of cards.I did like it.Raoul Ruiz is suitably enigmatic in his interview,giving very little away.He suggests that Camille's behaviour is inexplicable,he mentions the cruelty of innocence,seing him as a `child king',representing the childhood of Don Juan(???).I had seen and liked his film `Time Regained' on Proust.So I gave it a try.The father is mostly absent.
All the characters are purely mental beings.Based on `The Boy with Two Mothers' by Massimo Bontempelli,a surrealist friend of de Chirico. The house of Ariane (Huppert)and partner is a character in this complex,subtle drama.The parent's and grand-parents'possessions and belongings,family heirlooms are in the basement.There are suggestions of incest in the past,strange relationships in the present.Arianne herself is a designer and artist whose pictures are on the walls and her sculptures round about.Although she is a loving mother,she appears a bit detached at times.Her son is often looked after by a nanny,Helene,who takes him out.The nanny herself is odd, capricious,is having an affair with Serge(Bering) Ariane's brother,handing Camille over to a substitute minder,while she pursues it.Serge is a psychiatrist,who lives there on an upper floor.
Having said that Camille,decides on his 9th birthday,he wants to go to his `real mum'shome',calling his mother `Ariane'.She is taken aback, but plays along with him.Goes to an apartment on the far side of Paris to meet Isabella(Jeanne Balibar),whose own son Paul ,born the same time as Camille,drowned 2 years ago.Arianne panics helplessly,when Camille answering as `Paul',treats Isabella as his mother.There is great tension between the two competing mothers.But Arianne,beaten,invites Isabella to live with her,having been like Camille,bewitched.A picture of the Song of Solomon is placed centrally to point out the dilemma of Ariane.Camille whiles his time with a digital video camera,to film his surroundings.He makes film montage where he extracts from the narrative of events,his own private symbolism.Arianne,is outwardly stoical,inwardly neurotically tired.You feel like telling her to get a grip and discipline Camille,who seems to manipulate everyone too freely.Isabella is infuriatingly charming,smiles gnomically,seems to have a strange hold on Camille.Provides something missing.
Camille whispers to a friend,Alex,who seems to follow him in the wings everywhere.Serge gets Isabella into an asylum where he works, having failed to get answers from Camille.She's obviously disturbed.Camille and Isabella go missing simultaneously.Alex hands Camille's video cassettes over to Ariane.She learns what really happened to make Camille adopt Isabella as his mother.The video images like Ariadne's thread lead Ariane to the barge with Serge,to find a relieved Camille,grown weary like a child of this game.The film hints at the dysfunctionality of all families and the illegitimacy of parent-child relationships.Ariane flirts with Camille as he films her,at other times crying,suggesting a lover's relationship.This film will appeal to those who liked The Innocents or The Sixth Sense.Are the adults the real children with their own toys?Deceptive surfaces,thrilling depths,an air of mystery.Film for Ruiz,an impassive filter for emotions,tells the essential truth.
I admit it: I was looking for something more Hollywood, but all the good new releases were checked out on a Friday night, so I had to go for a second-tier rental instead. A European supernatural arthouse thriller seemed like a good option, even if the steady stream of similar films -- "Abre Tus Ojos," "Sixth Sense," "The Others," "The Ring," "The Eye," et al. -- is getting to be a bit much. And why do all these films have to star precocious, knowing little children who intone wisdom that seems beyond their years? In this case, it's a moody little Parisian boy named Camille, who wigs out after his ninth birthday, and tells his mother (played, somewhat flatly, by Isabelle Huppert) that he is in fact another child altogether, a boy named Paul, who as it turns out is a kid on the other side of town who drowned a couple of years ago. For some reason, Mom humors him, and they take a cab ride to the other boy's apartment, which is where the truly unsettling part of this film begins. The dead child's mourning mother appears, and insinuates herself in the other family's life, seducing Camille away from his family -- or so it seems. The middle section of this film slides into unreality and surrealism, as the actions of all involved seem warped and unexplainable. What's going on here? Are these people all dead, and living in some sort of Purgatory of unresolved emotional baggage of their former lives? Or are they all just nuts? The best performance, by far, in this film is by the elastic, elfin, wide-eyed Jeanne Balibar, who plays the other mother, and seems in turns both pixie-like and demonic. I agree, this isn't the greatest film ever, and the ending seems more rushed than deft, but the nauseating uncertainty that builds up as the plot unfolds shows that the filmmakers certainly had something on the ball... It does kind of stand the ghost-kid genre on its head a bit, and may make for an entertaining rental.
on April 9, 2010
I hate it when people play practical jokes on me, even if the lead-up is brilliant. An ending you won't forget - and you may not appreciate, either. This is one heck of a wicked director. He's in the last frame, for sure: a very naughty boy, destined for cinematic glory.
on January 10, 2004
"Comedy of Innocence" is a psychological thriller released in 2003. Thought many scenes are weak, especially the last half, there are some entertaining scenes. The plot idea is unique, which explores a child who is believed to be a reincarnation of his mother's old friend's son. He begins visiting the other woman regularly while identifying her as "mom" and himself as Paul, not his real name. The climax tries to build as his real mom becomes more furious. However, the attempt doesn't succeed. But the suspenseful theme is great. It keeps the audiences interested. The unanswered questions may disappoint viewers, expecially the ones that the viewers are anticipating the most. The acting is average, though there are some strong shining moments. Sometimes, such moments keep the thriller theme successfully. "Comedy of Innocence" may be a great movie to rent only once. Overall, mixed reviews may arise.