The Page Turner
Cast : Catherine Frot, Deborah Francois
Direction: Denis Dercourt
Rating : ****
This revenge-themed French melodrama is a more rewarding alternative to the drivel dished out by Hollywood in the name of entertainment nowadays.
Director Dercourt, a professional viola player himself, delves with tangible authenticity into the elegant world of classical music. The tautly structured script revolves around a gifted young music student (Francois) whose potential career was inadvertently sabotaged by a celebrated concert pianist (Frot).
Years later, the slighted student, now a beautiful blonde, insinuates her way into the affections of the older woman and her family. She even gets recruited as the page turner for the pianist’s comeback concert. Now, the stage is set for the malicious assistant to exact revenge.
The erotic frisson between the two central characters is depicted with sensitivity. Yet, the femme fatale’s mean streak is evident from the outset when she almost bangs the piano lid down on the hands of another auditioning student.
The denouement is as unexpected as it’s bittersweet. Throughout, there’s judicious use of the music of Bach, Schubert and Shostakovich. The photography uses bright colours to striking effect.
As the pianist on the verge of a breakdown, Catherine Frot is consistently credible. Newcomer Deborah Francois is astonishing as her single-minded stalker.
In sum, The Page Turner is a must-catch, especially for the discerning viewer.