A young cleaning woman, Anna (Virginie Ledoyen), sent to spruce up the abandoned St. Ange orphanage in the remotes of the French Alps in 1960, discovers that only one orphan, Judith (Lou Doillon), still lives there.
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Pascal Laugier is one of my top horror-thriller directors of recent years, but his first film breaks my first act rule when watching movies. If a film doesn't stir my emotions in that amount of time (regardless if it's a slow or fast paced film) and gets me watching the clock and not caring much about what happens next, then my mind is often elsewhere and I'm just distracted while forcing myself to finish it.
I liked it more than I expected to! Lots of creepy atmospheric stuff, plus constantly shifting mother-daughter type relationships. The last part has a lot in common with Laugier's MARTYRS, although it never goes quite as far.
An interesting prelude to Martyrs, by all means. The same conspiratorial themes, the exploitation of the innocent, the underground as a metaphor of hell, kubrick's white contrasted to crimson red, female-female alliance against all odds.
Really not that bad. It's slow and hard to follow at times but the cinematography is lovely with the use of white and the score is very moving. You'd probably need to watch the film more than once to fully get what's happening.