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Under the Sand (Widescreen) (Bilingual) [Import]

Charlotte Rampling , Bruno Cremer , François Ozon    Unrated   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Named one of People Mag's "Most Beautiful People", Charlotte Rampling gives one of her most acclaimed performances in Francois Ozon's mesmerizing tale of loss and grief. For many years, Marie and Jean have happily spent their vacations together at their country house. One day at the beach, Marie naps in the sand while Jean goes for a swim. When she awakens, he is gone. Did he drown? Did he run off? Distraught, Marie notified the authorities but after an extensive search, no body is found.


François Ozon's Under the Sand revolves around a tender, frightening contrast not easily forgotten: the dead live on only as long as we remember them. Marie (a luminous Charlotte Rampling) and Jean (Bruno Cremer), a middle-aged couple, are on vacation. As they ready the beach house almost wordlessly, a long-standing, intense love is immediately understood. While Marie naps on the shore, Jean goes off for a swim from which he never returns. Six months later, back in her empty Paris apartment, Marie goes about her life as if Jean is still there with her, reading in bed, massaging her feet, sitting at the breakfast table. At dinner parties and lunch dates, her close friends are visibly appalled her behavior. It becomes clear that Marie's place in society is increasingly precarious with a ghost at her side: her husband's bank accounts remain frozen because no body has been identified, her lectures at the university end abruptly in silence, her untimely laughter frightens a new lover. Ozon does not manipulate the viewer with surprise endings or try to charm with gags. Instead, we are intimately drawn into Marie's refusal to let go and her awful panic as Jean begins to fade. --Fionn Meade

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Film of 2001 July 9 2002
By A Customer
Under the Sand may be the most astoundingly beautiful film all year, not to mention one of the most heartbreaking portraits of grief on the screen since The Sweet Hereafter. It's sober, solemn, and somehow liberating--I feel more human now that it's over, and seeing it has become a pleasurable thing to look back on.
The film, about a woman in her fifties (Charlotte Rampling) whose husband disappears on the beach and is never seen again, is a fascinating examination of loss and a profoundly moving film about love. It is fiercely unsentimental, almost bitterly angry at times, in the way that we curse those we love who have left us without warning. The brilliant final shots, which do absolutely nothing to explain what really happened to the husband, or what will happen to the wife, make exactly the right ending.
Rampling is the most perfect thing about the film--never before has her total prescence been so apparent on the screen, and the effect is astonishing. Time has only worked to ripen her unusual, angular radiance; she's luminous and sensual in every act we watch her perform. The film's images, each so clean and smooth, unable to contain their own natural brilliance, are sheer poetry: fingers, clutching sand; the way that light and water can distort the human figure; the buttering of a piece of toast; finally, the canvas of the human body and the beauty of its conjunction with another in an act of love.
Under the Sand is a reminder of what love and loss really are--you can see them in nearly every shot of Charlotte Rampling's unforgettable, candid face.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ......... and God created Charlotte! March 28 2002
By A Customer
AND Thank God for creating this lovely creature!
She's quite, quite timeless and always the epitome of excellent taste, manner and beauty. This time she's the wife - the [better?] half of a middle-aged marriage, a couple still very much in love on vacation - spending time at the beach, but then he disappears - completely, and we're not quite sure if he will be found, or if he is found ...... a sinister journey .....
It asks the question - How long can we remember the Dead? Can we really recall the voice, the smell, the intimate touches shared? AND if we do - how long can we hold this memory? No, it's not 'Donna Flor and her Two Husbands' [or for that matter the odd remake with Sally Field]. This one's so real and Miss Rampling under the expert hands of director Francois Ozon pulls us through this hall of crackling mirrors. It's Euridice searching for Orpheus, or is it?
Not wanting to betray more of this odyssey, it's best to snuggle up on the couch on a rainy day, alone, [small fire blazing in the hearth, waves crashing outside, small sherry, dry], and watch this story unfold.
A profound journey, hypnotic, AND somewhat of a 6th sense ending - maybe .......... that's up to the viewer!
More Miss Rampling, please!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully filmed, Interesting July 26 2002
This is definitely a beautiful, well-filmed movie. The story stays a bit of a mystery throughout. Ms. Rampling is quite good. When I looked at her career and the movies in her filmography, I was surprised to see that such a fine actress really hasn't been in that many good movies. Not a young woman anymore, Ms Rampling is still very alluring. This film has a few erotic moments, but not to the degree that some reviewers are stating. If you like a thought-provoking type of character study and a beautiful loking film this could be a good one for you.
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