Under the Sand
(Sous le sable)

Screening on Film
Directed by François Ozon.
With Charlotte Rampling, Bruno Cremer, Jacques Nolot.
France/Japan, 2001, 35mm, color, 92 min.
French and English with English subtitles.
Print source: Yale Film Study Center

Still Ozon’s finest film, Under the Sand channels the spirit of Virginia Woolf to enter fully into the mind-space of a woman locked in a slow spiral of grief, mourning her husband whose unexplained disappearance she still does not believe. Charlotte Rampling uses the subtlest gestures to achingly capture the ritualistic denial of death later described so poignantly by Joan Didion, with a glazed far-away look and muted anguish that her friends and family try to ignore and, inevitably, to cure. Under the Sand is a masterful psychological study of grief but also an extraordinary tone poem.

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