She's One of Us

on January 21, 2005 by Ed Scheid
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Christine (Sasha Andres) does not fit comfortably into her surroundings. She works as a temporary employee and is well-regarded by employers. Desperate to make a connection with Patricia (Catherine Mouchet) from the temp agency, Christine buys a set of ceramic owls after she hears that Patricia collects them to pass herself off as a fellow collector. Christine listens to the comments of others about boyfriends and cars and repeats them as part of her own life, which is in reality very solitary. Her last name of Blanc seems particularly descriptive.

The ironically-titled "She's One of Us" is the extremely assured feature directorial debut of Siegrid Alnoy, who co-wrote the screenplay. Throughout, Alnoy's manipulation of images and sound gives her film a distinctive style that emphasizes the emptiness and sterility of Christine's daily routine. Blurriness, a close-up of Christine's shaky hands on a cafeteria tray, and the noises from other diners give an early indication of her profound sense of dislocation.

Christine's pent-up frustration builds to an sudden, explosive act. As she tries to hide her connection to the violence, she gets hired for a permanent job and surprisingly begins to become "part of the group" of her fellow employees.

With vacant stares, Andres creates a quietly chilling portrait of Christine as she continues to copy her behavior from what she's observed in others. The off-kilter details also help to sustain an unsettling mood throughout. The many odd touches include two policemen who continually speak together as they question Christine. How Christine adapts as she tries to be "one of us" and become a "model employee" is both unconventional and fascinating. Starring Sasha Andres, Catherine Mouchet, Carlo Brandt and Eric Caravaca. Directed by Siegrid Alnoy. Written by Siegrid Alnoy, Jerome Beaujour, and Francois Favrat. Produced by Beatrice Caufman. A Leisure Time release. Drama. French-language; subtitled. Running time: 99 min

Tags: Sasha Andres, Catherine Mouchet, Carlo Brandt, Eric Caravaca, Siegrid Alnoy, Jerome Beaujour, Francois Favrat, Beatrice Caufman, Leisure Time, Drama, French, Christine Blanc, Patricia, ceramic owls
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