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Innocence


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Product Details

  • Actors: Zoé Auclair, Lea Bridarolli, Bérangère Haubruge, Marion Cotillard, Hélène de Fougerolles
  • Directors: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
  • Writers: Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Frank Wedekind
  • Producers: Alain de la Mata, Geoffrey Cox, Patrick Sobelman, Paul Trijbits
  • Format: Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Homevision
  • DVD Release Date: November 13, 2007
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000V6FVMK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,151 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Innocence" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Gushing water. Subterranean rumbling. Sun-dappled green vistas behind huge stone walls. So begins Innocence, a fascinating fable about a mysterious school for girls, where one arrives by coffin to a self-enclosed, highly regimented universe of botany classes, ballet and playtime. The journey from girl to womanhood and the dangers and perils contained therein has rarely, if ever, been explored in a more creative manner than in this intoxicating feature by acclaimed film director Lucile Hadzihalilovic. With stunning cinematography by Benoit Debie (Irreversible, Calvaire), a world both compelling and ominous unfolds as six-year-old Iris watches time pass and girls disappearing one by one...

Starring Marion Cotillard, the acclaimed actress who portrays Edith Piaf in the hit foreign film, La Vie en Rose.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I happened upon this film on YouTube last week and rented it from Netflix.
This is a film about an exclusive private boarding ballet school in an English speaking country that could nevertheless be, and most likely is, found in many nations of the world, especially the Russian Federation, where people are passionate about ballet as they are nowhere else. The cost of educating and training this small group of girls in the basic academic arts and dance is offset by the revenues of recitals the girls put on periodically at an old opera house nearby. Since the fate of the school is tied completely to the success of the recitals, the shows must please their demanding audiences: the girls must not only dance perfectly but look like angels, maintaining perfect figures dressed in white. They are permitted to roam the extensive grounds of their school so long as they do not leave.
That ballet companies can be unforgiving with the rare people suited to their art and that the perfectionism demanded by many dance teachers has driven many students to depression, anorexia, and suicide are cliches. The girls at this school know they cannot leave, so they do not dwell on the injustices meted out by their teachers, but all but the most beautiful and successful entertain fantasies about leaving that often surface as nightmares. Those who act out these fantasies meet differing outcomes.
Although sequestering girls away from males may be necessary to to enable some of them to dance without embarrassment or fear, it is the rare girl that is willing to forego knowledge for the privilege. When the girls run away, it is with the audience's understanding and approval.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Angela S. on October 6, 2011
Format: DVD
This is a beautiful film. The storyline is open to your own interpretation. I watched this over a week ago and I cannot stop thinking of different possible answers, yet the storyline isn't that complicated. I loved the actors, for such a young age, they all did an excellent job. This film is set in a park with lots of beautiful green scenery.

There is a suspenseful and dark tone to this film like something awful is going to happen, however, the end result is something that I didn't expect. I loved the eerie feel of the outdoor wall lights attached to the trees along the path that the older girls walked on at night. My favorite scene is when the schoolgirls are dancing, swinging, and playing in the forest with classical music in the background, it really reminded me of my childhood, where you simply enjoyed playing with no drama or tension. If you like slow and thoughtful movies, give it a try.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Robinson on October 3, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Maybe it's something about the French. This film, and "Ponette", rank with me as the loveliest, truest cinematic works dealing with childhood.

(Well, I should add that men might not feel that way, since both films deal with little girls -- I am interested to know what male lovers of cinema would vote for.)

Aesthetically, this is a first-rate film, from its highly stylized, deliberately old-fashioned opening to its purposefully abrupt end at the fountain. I watched this in complete absorption before watching the interviews with the charming Lucile Hadzihalilovic, and I am in complete agreement with her choices regarding filming and soundtrack. As she intended, mood is set by the interesting visuals, but there is no Hollywood-style musical score guiding the viewer's emotional response.

Ms. Hadzihalilovic intended the story to be open to interpretation, but although one might quibble over details, I don't see how anyone could see this as anything other than a poetic, psychological interpretation of the voyage from young girlhood to sexual maturity. In this it is accurate, moving, and beautiful. As Hadzihalilovic intended, it is like a fairytale and a dream, something to which every viewer can bring her own experience.

I am always impressed with directors who can work with young children. This director gets a naturalistic performance from her little girls, which is more than any recent American movie I can remember could boast of. As a girl who grew up in the '70s and '80s, I remember girls at single-sex schools dressed in uniform, jumping rope and playing with hula hoops, and the director gets more than that -- she gets the feel of being a little girl in that kind of environment.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Authentic on December 8, 2013
Format: DVD
An excellent and magical film which is definitely not for everyone, "Innocence" can be experienced on at least two levels.

First, the entire film is a dreamlike allegory about girls venturing through childhood and into puberty. It is tinged with a sense of anxiety about the challenges and uncertainties of adulthood, toward which all children journey. Also, there is a sense of trepidation about being molded to the dictates of a society unconcerned with your personal gifts, desires and aspirations. In tone and feeling, it is like dream-vision poetry from the medieval age. If you're watching "Innocence" and thinking, "Where is there a school like this?" or "It's bad that the new girls arrive in coffins." Or "There should be parents in this movie," then you are missing the point. This movie is an allegory as well as a conceit and it requires the symbolism of dreams to speak eloquently and to honestly explore its issues. With no doctrinaire adult character to "set things right," this movie is free to honestly portray childhood itself while it intentionally avoids preaching about what adults think childhood ought to be.

Second, "Innocence" is a reverent rhapsody on life as it is experienced directly by the senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. It explores the life of the body. In connection, the cinematography is beautiful, vibrant and sumptuous – with saturated colors and natural lighting. If you liked "Picnic at Hanging Rock" and "The New World," you will like "Innocence.
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