Siegrid Alnoy’s She’s One of Us asks us to take a woman’s ennui at face value. Literally. You see, for a good portion of the film’s running time, Christine (Sasha Andres)—a female riff on Meursault from Camus’s The Stranger—stares into Alnoy’s camera with a stupid smirk or blank expression on her face, friends and acquaintances only too ready to form perpendicular angles (Bergman style!) in relation to her body. What’s her beef? A temp who enjoys going from one job to the next, the ostensibly rootless Christine seems to have something against the capitalist noise around her, a gripe the audience is supposed to glean from all the stores (Monsieur Meubles, for example) and signs of encouragement that haunt the woman’s periphery (“Fulfill Ambitions” reads one wish-fulfillment tacked to a wall). She’s like Roddy Piper in John Carpenter’s fascinating They Live! (right down to beating the hell out of her new best friend), except she doesn’t need special sunglasses to smell bullshit—pity for Alnoy, neither does her audience. The film’s camera scarcely moves, and when it does, it appears to be strapped to some kind of pivot. The effect is like looking at the world from the point of view of a slow-moving roller coaster making its way through a trippy wind tunnel where Brian Eno is spinning dub classics. It’s in this way that this pretentious contraption unravels—slowly, surely, irritatingly—like an extended music video homage to Crime and Punishment, the films of Michelangelo Antonioni, Laurent Cantet’s Time Out, even Marina de Van’s Cronenbergian In My Skin, its aesthetic chilliness meaning to say something (anything!) about the horrors of a woman detached from the world. Because Alnoy fails to seriously engage the audience morally and emotionally or get beneath the skin of her main character, Christine simply comes off as some loony giving face to the camera. Though this isn’t Alnoy’s intention, she does deserve credit for successfully evoking what it must be like to live with a brain tumor.
- Leisure Time Features
- 100 min
- Siegrid Alnoy
- Siegrid Alnoy
- Sasha Andres, Carlo Brandt, Catherine Mouchet, Eric Caravaca, Pierre-Felix Graviere, Jacques Spiesser, Mireille Roussel, Daniel Ceccaldi
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