Womanon the edge
ANNA M Directed by Michel Spinosa. Starring Isabelle Carré, Gilbert Melki, Anne Consigny, Geneviève Mnich Club, IFI, Dublin, 106 min
Though Isabelle Carré’s coruscating central performance has been justly praised, this interesting French film has also generated some confused responses in its journey about the globe. Is it a stalker thriller in the style of Fatal Attraction? Is it a serious attempt to detail the typical progress of an obsessive psychosis?
It is to director Michel Spinosa’s credit that he entwines both strains with such deftness. The film is often exciting and occasionally horrifying, but, if the intertitles’ allusions to the various stages of psychosis are to be credited, it retains an admirable seriousness of purpose throughout.
Carré plays a sombre young woman who is employed in the restoration of ancient documents at the French national library. One day, clearly depressed, she steps in front of a car and suffers serious injuries to her legs.
During her spell in hospital, she becomes attached to her doctor and, upon release, initiates a campaign of harassment against the poor fellow and his blameless wife. In her most demented moment, she secures a job as a nanny with the folks upstairs and encourages the kids to rip up the wooden floor above the doctor’s head.
Anna M does have more than its share of unlikely moments (that nanny job is secured with preposterous ease), and the dubious ending fails in at least three different ways. But Carré attacks the role with such unsettling conviction that the picture proves never less than gripping. Even Gloria Swanson would have had difficulty replicating the addled malignity the young actress brings to her glowers at the camera. We hope to see more of her in years to come.