on September 29, 2000 by Barbara Goslawski
The director of the critically acclaimed "August 32nd on Earth" returns with an equally inspired vision of spiritual isolation in contemporary society. Despite his decidedly modern settings, Villeneuve is able to evoke the universal and the eternal, masterfully employing complex visual strategies, rich with meaning yet subtle in tone. In "Maelstrom," he manages to turn an unlikely set of circumstances into an urban folktale of destiny and redemption.

   Following yet another abortion and break-up, Bilbaine (Marie-Josée Croze) descends into a world of trendy bars and one-night stands. After a particularly heavy bout of drinking, she kills a man in a hit-and-run accident, sparking a downward spiral that is somehow fittingly absurd. Her penance is rewarded, however, with a remarkable twist of fate, one that resonates with an appropriate dream-logic. Peppering this urban study with references to Norwegian folktales, Villeneuve creates in "Maelstrom" a world where the bizarre is credible and the real turns magical. Starring Marie-Josée Croze and Jean-Nicolas Verrault. Directed and written by Denis Villeneuve. Produced by Roger Frappier and Luc Vandal. No distributor set. Drama. French-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 88 min.

Tags: Marie-Jose Croze, Jean-Nicolas Verrault, Danis Villleneuve, Roger Frappier, Luc Vandal, Drama, French, contemporary, society, redemption, abortion

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