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Betty Fisher And Other Stories [DVD] [2002]

Sandrine Kiberlain , Nicole Garcia , Claude Miller    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £14.02
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Frequently Bought Together

Betty Fisher And Other Stories [DVD] [2002] + A Secret [DVD] (2007)
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Product details

  • Actors: Sandrine Kiberlain, Nicole Garcia, Mathilde Seigner, Luck Mervil, Edouard Baer
  • Directors: Claude Miller
  • Writers: Claude Miller, Ruth Rendell
  • Producers: Annie Miller, Claire Barrau, Nicole Robert, Yves Marmion
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Optimum Home Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Oct 2002
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006SKU6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,164 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk

With Betty Fisher and Other Stories, writer-director Claude Miller follows the examples of Claude Chabrol and Pedro Almodóvar in adapting a Ruth Rendell novel to the screen. In this case the original novel, The Tree of Hands, has been translated seamlessly and stylishly to a Parisian setting. The plot interweaves a complexity of characters and stories, but the central thread concerns the eponymous Betty, a novelist whose young son dies while her disturbed mother Margot is staying with her. Margot, with terrifying directness, calmly abducts another child of similar age to replace the dead boy. From this loopy act there stems a whole series of consequences and side-effects involving a widening and socially diverse circle of people across the city.

Miller lucidly traces his way through the intricate story with cool, ironic humour and a sure touch for the different social milieus. Once or twice the plot strains credulity--bringing three major characters together by chance for the showdown at Charles de Gaulle airport is just a little too convenient--but most of the time the social and emotional cross-currents are deftly navigated. As Betty, Sandrine Kiberlain gives an almost painfully vulnerable performance, as if she lacks several layers of skin, while Nicole Garcia makes her mother Margot into a monster of overriding, self-pitying egomania. Their scenes together carry the weight of a whole lifetime of ill-suppressed mutual aversion. As with Rendell's novels, it's endlessly fascinating to watch these people, but you feel very glad you don’t know them. --Philip Kemp

Product Description

Betty Fisher (Sandrine Kiberlain) is a successful novelist whose life is struck by tragedy when her only son falls from his bedroom window and later dies in hospital. Sometime later Margot (Nicole Garcia), Betty's mother, sees a young boy playing in the street nearby and brings him home to serve as a replacement son for Betty. The boy's mother, Carole (Mathilde Seigner), then reports the disappearance to the police, helping to set off a chain of events which bind the protagonists together in ways they never expected. Adapted from a novel by Ruth Rendell.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
The British title on the Region 2 release does a much better job than the Region 1 title, Alias Betty Fisher, of luring us into this stylish French thriller, part psychological study and part ensemble suspense story. Betty Fisher and Other Stories tells us about Brigitte Fisher (Betty is her nom de plume), a young woman who has written a successful novel. In New York she married briefly, had a child and has return to Paris. She had an unpleasant childhood with a mother who at times would become irrationally angry. Brigitte's marriage lasted six months. Now her son is four years old and her mother has unexpectedly arrived for medical "treatments." Days later, Brigitte's son falls from a second floor window and dies. Brigitte (Sandrine Kiberlain) is distraught and depressed. Her mother takes steps to fix that...by stealing a four-year-old child from a lower-class neighborhood and bringing the boy home for her daughter. Betty at first rejects the child but then slowly becomes attached. And we learn about the child's real mother, Carole Novacki, a surly young barmaid, shoplifter and part-time prostitute. There's Carole's live-in boy friend, Francoise, a laborer from Africa; Milo, the bartender with a short fuse where she works; Alex, the hustler, long-time friend and occasional bed-mate of Carole; there's Eduard, Brigitte's former husband who shows up and sees her now as a literary bread ticket. There is a whole cast of characters, including the police who are searching for the stolen boy. Their stories swirl around Brigitte's story, sometime overlapping, sometimes just glancing by.

The stories come together at Orly Air Port in a violent confrontation which leaves these people and their stories getting what they deserve.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
Successful author Sandrine Kiberlain collapses in hospital when her young son is pronounced dead following a fall. Her self-obsessed mother, erratically deranged by medicated mental illness, abducts a badly-bruised boy from a run-down housing estate and presents him to her daughter by way of recompense. Initially appalled, Kiberlain keeps the boy while the police kidnap-hunt is extensively covered in the media. Ruth Rendell's tragic melodrama Tree of Hands is turned by Parisian film-maker Claude Miller (the outstanding director of Class Trip) into a compelling series of synchronicities which reveal much about the way people misinterpret the evidence in front of their eyes. In some respects, it's like a more gripping version of Michael Haneke's Code Unknown, its characters riven with human defects and insecurities as they make bad choices in a world at once random and strangely ordered. The performances are meticulously observed and Miller keeps the movie's momentum on an even keel as the multi-strand story converges in a climax that is both funny and touching.
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4.0 out of 5 stars French take on Ruth Rendell 26 Oct 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The storyline is every bit a "Ruth Rendell Mystery" as seen on ITV3 on weekends, and even manages to feature the Rendell theme tune it it. Relocated to the Paris banlieue.... but, with actors like Nicole Garcia in it. Well put together by director Claude Miller, but not quite as good as his "L'accompagnatrice" or his brilliant "Un secret" - nonetheless a very good watch that keeps you guessing, and then concludes with an ending straight out of the Ruth Rendell we all know from our own television programmes.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever thrieller 31 Jan 2010
By Bruller
Format:DVD
Quite a clever thriller created under a very laboring title. Full of twists to keep one interested. Pity that the copy I bought turned out to be of 4:3 ratio and not enhanced for 16:9 screens. I wish marketing will state this simple matter which can make such a big difference on your flat screen, much clearer and more obvious.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars A French psychological thriller with several stories to tell and a happy, violent, ending 1 Mar 2009
By C. O. DeRiemer - Published on Amazon.com
Betty Fisher and Other Stories, a stylish French thriller, part psychological study and part ensemble suspense story. tells us about Brigitte Fisher (Betty is her nom de plume), a young woman who has written a successful novel. In New York she married briefly, had a child and has return to Paris. She had an unpleasant childhood with a mother who at times would become irrationally angry. Brigitte's marriage lasted six months. Now her son is four years old and her mother has unexpectedly arrived for medical "treatments." Days later, Brigitte's son falls from a second floor window and dies. Brigitte (Sandrine Kiberlain) is distraught and depressed. Her mother takes steps to fix that...by stealing a four-year-old child from a lower-class neighborhood and bringing the boy home for her daughter. Betty at first rejects the child but then slowly becomes attached. And we learn about the child's real mother, Carole Novacki, a surly young barmaid, shoplifter and part-time prostitute. There's Carole's live-in boy friend, Francoise, a laborer from Africa; Milo, the bartender with a short fuse where she works; Alex, the hustler, long-time friend and occasional bed-mate of Carole; there's Eduard, Brigitte's former husband who shows up and sees her now as a literary bread ticket. There is a whole cast of characters, including the police who are searching for the stolen boy. Their stories swirl around Brigitte's story, sometime overlapping, sometimes just glancing by.

The stories come together at Orly Air Port in a violent confrontation which leaves these people and their stories getting what they deserve. Which means some die, some flee and some get on an airplane for Singapore.

The director, Claude Miller, does two things very well. He not only involves us with all these stories, he gives them all an overlay of uneasy tension. Especially with Brigitte, her mother and the stolen boy, there is an edgy dread that quickly establishes itself. It eases up only when we realize the boy will survive, but there still is the question of what will happen to him. Miller also gives us some strong characters to get involved with, even if we don't like them too much. There's no flashy acting moments, just the steady building of information about these people, which Miller lets us discover for ourselves. The actors, in my view, all do fine jobs. Sandrine Kiberlain carries the movie and she handles her character with depth and skill. Nicole Garcia, who plays Brigitte's mother, makes us nervous whenever we see her. Just how unstable is Margot Fisher? The story, by the way, is from one of Ruth Rendell's psychological thrillers.

This is a movie that keeps something of a cool distance from the many goings on. I don't think this is a fault. It helps us examine Brigitte's evolving feelings and helps us make choices about the characters. I'd be surprised if any viewer doesn't finally agree with Brigitte's choice.

The movie is available on DVD with the title Alias Betty Fisher. Wish they'd kept this title.
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