The Page Turner

Year: 2006
Production Co: Diaphana Films
Director: Denis Dercourt
Writer: Denis Dercourt
Cast: Catherine Frot, Deborah Francis
The marketing likened this cold, cruel film to Hitchcock, and indeed there's a thriller element. But the interesting thing about many French movies is that, unlike American films where every emotion is worn on the characters' sleeves, there's a distinct underplay, a sinister edge like the threat of violence that never breaks free.

The prepubescent Melanie is thrown off balance during an important piano audition to gain entry into a prestigious conservatory. One of the assessors, famous pianist Ariane (Catherine Frot) unthinkingly lets an autograph seeker into the room and Melanie's concentration breaks, costing her the place. She goes home, locks her piano and quietly clears away her musical accoutrements, her musical ambitions failed in silent heartbreak.

We meet Melanie years later (Deborah Francois) as a lovely young law clerk; beautiful and dispassionate, with barely a single emotion crossing her flawless face. When fate puts her in Ariane's grand home as a nanny to her son, we still get no clue what Melanie is thinking, but we know she's cooking something up.

The film sets up a brutal revenge that's exacted in the last few frames, but as with the rest of the film, there isn't a drop of blood split or single raised voice. There's just Melanie, walking down the road, her face impassive, a woman avenged.

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