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Lise et Andre

The title may suggest another French love story, but Denis Dercourt’s refreshing film has no truck with romance. Lise et Andre is a film about faith, and it presents its theme through two protagonists whose positions in life could hardly be more polarised. Lise (Isabelle Candelier) is a single parent who works as a prostitute. Andre (Michel Duchaussoy) is an ageing, world-weary priest whose main interest is conducting the church choir. When her son lies in a coma following a road accident, Lise insists that Andre accompany her to the shrine of the Virgin of Abbeville, who is believed to have performed a miracle to save the lives of children. Reluctantly agreeing to make the trip, a grouchy Andre hits the road with the determined Lise. Their journey involves some comic encounters, but Dercourt’s tightly structured narrative wastes little time in getting to the heart of the matter. Andre is moved and humbled by his discovery of Lise’s background, while Lise begins to appreciate the old priest’s struggle with his own faith. The film builds to a powerful climax as Dercourt pulls together all the elementsÑstrong performances, some beautiful choral music, an extraordinary use of light and landscape – to capture a palpable sense of faith at work. This is a real discovery from a previously unheralded director.

France, 2000.
English subtitles.
Colour.
Dolby stereo SR.
87 min.

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