Retired maths teacher Michel (Jean-Claude Brisseau) lives alone following the death of his wife, and spends his time writing an essay on human illusions. One day, Michel comes across Dora (Virginie Legeay), a young homeless woman who shows up injured on his doorstep, and puts her up until she recovers. Her presence brings something new into Michel's life, but gradually the apartment becomes the site of a series of mysterious events.
France Goes All Sixth Sense
- The Girl from Nowhere review by JS
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You rated this film: 5
This beautifully acted and written little (mostly) two hander makes great use of its main location, an enormous and wonderul flat - the Director's, I suspect - and belies the fact it probably cost the price of Tom Hank's Lunch Bill to make.
Shot in HDV and, by the looks of it, using only available/natural light, the film has a sheen of reality and 'everyday-ness', further enhanced by the exquisite performances of its small - actually tiny - cast. Star/writer/producer Brisseau is wonderful as the coccooned, kind and slightly grumpy writer who has been in hiding since the death of his wife 29 years ago. Virginie Legeay as the mysterious girl he takes under his wing is his equal; enigmatic, beautiful and shrouded in a slightly chilling sadness that makes you want to adopt her.
In its early moments the film plays like a standard drama of an elderly man forging a relationship with a young woman who has difficulty trusting him, but about halfway through the film throws its twist at you and it's effective - if a little (perhaps intentionally) comical on repeat viewings - big scare moment, which is actually very modest but fits in perfectly with the proceedings.
We are then into supernatural territory, Gallic style. The writers guest, it transpires, has a connection with the dead and how this relates to her 'landlord' and their relationship makes up the remainder of the movie.
The film is, like its female protagonist, wholly enigmatic and doesn't quite answer your questions, preferring to add to the mysteries of life it ponders. This is refreshing and welcome. The modern horror/ghost story tends to be a mudhole of CGI, noise and blood that hammers its points home and tends, at least for me, to leave the viewer wishing for a moments respite from the chaos. The old adage: a lot of noise and fury representing nothing, always stays in my head during these films. Thus The Girl From Nowhere is a treat, and a gem of economical story telling that is much, much more than it first appears.