Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video

 Winnie (Molinier)

Directed by: Delphine Gleize.
Produced by: Jérôme Dopffer.
Written by: Gleize.
Director of Photography: Crystel Fournier.
Edited by: Francçois Quiqueré.
Music by: Éric Neveux.
Released by: Wellspring.
Country of Origin: France/Spain/Belguim/Switzerland. 130 min. Not Rated.
With: Chiara Mastroianni, Ángela Molina & Raphaëlle Molinier.

Director’s Gleize debut is an intriguing and disturbing exploration of death and rebirth laced with humor and poignancy. It opens as an inquisitive girl, Winnie (Molinier), watches a Spanish matador being mauled on TV. Meanwhile, a dejected actress (Mastroianni, who strikingly resembles mother Catherine Deneuve) attends a nutty “rebirthing” class searching for inner peace. The other intertwining characters are linked–some tentatively–by the bull’s fate, which in a graphic and repetitive sequence is dismembered. An itinerant taxidermist treasures the bull’s longhorns, while his estranged brother Jacques, an upscale Belgium taxidermist, covets the bull’s eyes, which are used as playthings by his young son. At a supermarket, Carlotta sells a bone of the bull to Winnie’s family for their dog–with deadly results. More life affirming than tragic, Carnage is often mesmerizing–especially the bullfight and the bizarrely amusing dinner at Winnie’s house when Carlotta makes an expected visit. And its unconventional characters are quietly charming, not cloying. Isolated at home, Jacques’s pregnant and lonely wife Betty pretends to be someone else on the phone. Although a bit indulgent and too long–many of the sequences reiterate the same idea (Carlotta at tends yet another rebirthing class)–Gleize has nevertheless written an imaginative and loopy script where the twisting storylines, each with its own distinct tone, eventually connect. Kent Turner
September 5, 2003



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