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Innocence [2005] [DVD]


Price: £5.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Marion Cotillard, Helene De Fougerolles, Zoe Auclair, Lea Bridarolli, Berangere Haubruge
  • Directors: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
  • 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: Artificial Eye
  • DVD Release Date: 23 Jan. 2006
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BX6FW8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,182 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

At the heart of a densely wooded forest lies a mysterious girls' boarding school, cut off from the outside world by a great wall with no door. Within, a group of youngsters aged between seven and twelve gather round a small coffin, from which emerges a new pupil, six-year-old Iris. Led by the eldest girl, Bianca, Iris is introduced to this strange yet enchanting world of lamp-lit forest paths and eerie underground passageways, where there are no adults save for some elderly servants and two melancholy young teachers. But this haven is one from which the girls are forbidden to leave; those that do are never heard from again. Haunting and bizarre, filmmaker Lucile Hadzihalovic imbues Innocence with a fairytale-like sense of menace and images of surreal beauty, creating a mesemrising and timeless evocation of childhood.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 81 people found the following review helpful By S. Witkowski-Baker on 7 May 2007
Format: DVD
I had never heard of this film before i picked it off the shelf, so I had no idea what to expect.

It's based on 'Mine-Haha, or the Physical Education of Young Girls', by a German playwright named Frank Wedekind. The plot revolves around a boarding school for girls roughly aged 5 or 6 up until they hit puberty, in the middle of a dense forest.

As soon as the film starts, it fills the viewer with a sense of foreboding, with a long, flickery opening featuring a child-sized coffin and no music, but a deep, ominous rumbling sound instead. That combined with the next scene, of girls in identical white uniforms opening the coffin to reveal thier new, living, companion, certainly made me expect some kind of sinister nightmare. I, like many other viewers, was concerned that it would turn out to be a film about paedophillia, and I was waiting with bated breath for some true horror to come around the corner.

But actually, there are no monsters or paedophiles, but rather a distinct lack of sexual innuendos. The film really is about innocence. The celebration of young girls in the film would only a few decades ago have seemed totally unremarkable, before such images were so sexualised as they sometimes are nowadays. The subject of developing female sexuality is indeed touched on, especially towards the end, but not in nearly as sinister a manner as one might expect.

The school takes on a life of its own. On the one hand its a child's paradise, where the girls can play and practice dance and gymnastics among the trees and swim in the lake, in between exciting lessons. But it also feels like a prison. It is inescapable, and those who try to escape meet a tragic fate or are never spoken of again.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Toby on 30 April 2008
Format: DVD
Innocence is nothing like the other DVDs you might see in the 'similar items' category. If you're looking for something which blends eroticism with art then this is not the film for you.

If, however, you are looking for a refreshing exploration of childhood then Innocence is the film for you. There are sinister sexual overtones but they are presented as exactly that. This is a film about the beauty of childhood. Hadlizahilovic challenges the viewer's preconceptions by suggesting and then withdrawing from the notions of sex and paedophilia. The DVD cover is incredibly suggestive but this film is consciously NOT about sex, a fact which leaves the viewer with a refreshingly innocent image of what childhood should be.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By GlynLuke TOP 100 REVIEWER on 18 Jun. 2012
Format: DVD
This is a remarkable film to have been made by anybody at any time, but to realise that this was the 2004 directorial debut by Lucile Hadzihalilovic renders her achievement an astonishing one.
There will always and ever be those who complain with such films that `there is no narrative`, no graspable plot, no `beginning, middle and end`. Well, if you expect clear, unenigmatic narrative, steer well clear of this one.
What you will get is a stunningly beautiful, utterly compelling, unobtrusively unsettling, dreamlike two-hour film of the seemingly idyllic schooldays of a group of young girls, whose ages range from about eight to pre-pubescent, and who appear to arrive at the under-populated rural establishment (set in ravishing woodlands) in a coffin and leave...I mustn`t give too much away, though that would be hard to do with such a serenely mysterious tale as this.
It isn`t exactly a horror film, more a kind of spectral fantasy that hovers between reality and something more off-kilter. I watched mesmerised, if only because of the film`s tightly controlled structure - essential in a film of this sort - and the camerawork of Benoit Debie, the film being shot using wholly natural light. Indeed,
the director has been lucky in her choice of collaborators, not least an unselfish performance by a pre-Piaf Marion Cotillard, playing one of the only two mistresses at the school, a ballet teacher with misgivings of her own (the other teacher has a disconcerting gammy leg and walking-stick) and a hand-picked bunch of girls, none of whom had acted before. The odd thing about it is that very rarely does anyone, children included, look like they are in fact acting, such is the uncanny naturalness of the whole thing.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By @GeekZilla9000 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Dec. 2007
Format: DVD
If Lucile Hadzihalilovic was aiming for an enigmatic debut with Innocence - then she's certainly succeeded!

The film is set in the micro-reality of a private school cut off from the rest of the world by a surrounding wall. The girls in the school arrive in a coffin to begin their stay. Sounds dark? The feeling continues.

They have no visitors, in fact; no contact with the outside world whatsoever. They have a hierarchical system identified by coloured hair ribbons - red, for example; represents the youngest girls.

With the highly sexualised culture we live in, you can't but feel slightly uncomfortable at the sight of the near naked girls bathing in a lake, and the various other scenes involving more than the usual amount of flesh. This seems to complement the title perfectly - "Innocence" - there is nothing sexual about the scenes, nothing untoward, there is nothing to be uncomfortable about. There is only one scene which could be labelled sexual, but it is a very tasteful moment involving an older girl experimenting with the feel of velvet against her skin.

The general eeriness of the film is fortified by the lack of verbal communication, especially from adults - there must only be 5 or 6 minutes of adult dialogue. There is a sense of unease amongst the tutors and you try to imagine how the cause of this will all be revealed at the end.

Who put the girls in the school? Why aren't they allowed out until they hit puberty? Who are the late night ballet performances for? You start to think the unthinkable, especially when during a late night performance a girl catches a flower from a hidden audience member and is told she is the prettiest girl on stage.

So many questions posed - but unfortunately never answered.
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