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Alive

A young woman's reaction to being gang-raped gets incongruously glossy treatment in Sandrine Ray's Gallic debut feature "Alive." Not exactly exploitative, pic is nonetheless so glib and glam it seems a trivial take on a serious, even brutal theme. Offshore prospects will most likely be limited to tube sales.

With:
With: Vahina Giocante, Samuel Jouy, Francois Berleand, Fanny Cottencon, Pierre Cassignard.

A young woman’s reaction to being gang-raped gets incongruously glossy treatment in Sandrine Ray’s Gallic debut feature “Alive.” Not exactly exploitative, pic is nonetheless so glib and glam it seems a trivial take on a serious, even brutal theme. Offshore prospects will most likely be limited to tube sales.

Nineteen-year-old Parisian student Claire (Vahina Giocante from “Marie baie des anges”) is riding home on her scooter when she’s abducted by four men, dragged to a park and repeatedly assaulted. She doesn’t tell anyone; instead she dropsout of school, clubs till all hours, flirts with substance abuse, and has indiscriminate sex. All this dismays her bewildered loved ones, particularly her brother and father. In the end a sympathetic older woman’s support (Claire’s mother died young) and a new, Sensitive Nice Guy boyfriend help her pull out. Protag here seems more peevish than pained; helmer/co-scenarist Ray doesn’t help by depicting Claire’s reckless urban antics in modish, hyperbolic terms. Alternately blank and hammy, Giocante is well out of depth, though true blame for pic’s shallow psychological impact lies elsewhere. Vapid Eurodisco cuts on the soundtrack perfectly complement the hollow theatrics here; tech package is too slick.

Alive

France

Production: A Blue Films production in association with Centre National de la Cinematographie and Canal Plus. Produced by Raymond Blumenthal. Directed by Sandrine Ray. Screenplay by Ray and Antoine Lacomblez.

Crew: Camera (color), Olivier Cocaul; editor, Pascale Chavance; music, Romaric Laurence; production designer, Carlos Conti; sound (Dolby Digital), Jacques Pibarot, Patrice Grisolet; casting, Gerard Moulevrier. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (World Cinema), Jan. 16, 2002. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: With: Vahina Giocante, Samuel Jouy, Francois Berleand, Fanny Cottencon, Pierre Cassignard.

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