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ANNA M.

Director: MICHEL SPINOSA

FRANCE • 2007 • SUBTITLED • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • DTS STEREO • 106 MIN


DIRECTOR MICHEL SPINOSA’S DRAMA ABOUT A YOUNG WOMAN IN THE THROES OF A MORBID PASSION MAY BE A TOUCH MANIPULATIVE, BUT IT HAS AN IRON GRIP THAT DOESN’T LET GO ANY MORE EASILY THAN ITS HEROINE DOES.
The film sets a fastidious, Chabrol-esque tone in the first few shots, showing Anna (Isabelle Carre) at work as a rare-book restorer in Paris’s old Bibliotheque nationale. Anna seems a well-balanced professional sort, but all is not well. Following an unexplained collapse, she leaves the flat where she lives with her mother and deliberately walks into traffic. Recovering from her injuries, she is tended by Dr Andre Zanevsky (Gilbert Melki), for whom she immediately conceives an unrequited passion. At first, her crush seems to be the sort of skittish folly that has provided the material for many a French comedy of misunderstanding, but the depth of Anna’s disturbance emerges as she starts pursuing Zanevsky and casting dark looks at his wife. Divided into chapters, entitled after the phases of pathological erotomania, the film keeps us guessing about what’s going on in the mind of this intelligent, sensitive but disturbed young woman. Spinosa artfully keeps the film fluctuating between Zanevsky’s view of Anna as a Basic Instinct-style menace, and a sympathetic closeness to this vulnerable woman who’s a prisoner of her own psyche. Whatever its narrative unevenness, Anna M. is unfailingly gripping and directed with well-paced, steely concentration. It also represents a tour de force for Isabelle Carre, currently on a career roll. The subtlety of her characterisation reminds you of the early Isabelle Huppert. —Jonathan Romney/’Screen International’.

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