Although ravishingly lensed, a steamy story runs out of steam in "The Ring Finger," a fetching, Euro-set adaptation of a Japanese novel. Almost worth the price of admission for lovely newcomer Olga Kurylenko, front and center as a factory worker who takes a very peculiar desk job after her finger is nearly severed, pic shows enormous promise in the first few reels but treads water way too much after that.

Although ravishingly lensed, a steamy story runs out of steam in “The Ring Finger,” a fetching, Euro-set adaptation of a Japanese novel. Almost worth the price of admission for lovely newcomer Olga Kurylenko, front and center as a factory worker who takes a very peculiar desk job after her finger is nearly severed, pic shows enormous promise in the first few reels but treads water way too much after that. Film sank on local release in June but has enough spark (and sex) for some fest action.

After 21-year-old Iris (the effortlessly radiant Kurylenko) nearly loses her digit on a bottling assembly line, she stumbles into a position as receptionist and very personal secretary to a man (Marc Barbe) who transforms customers’ mementos into “specimens.” These are sometimes afloat in formaldehyde, sometimes sealed in a beaker as if ready for display in an old-fashioned museum. When her employer requires Iris to wear red high-heeled pumps, an already odd job gets even stranger. Adapter-helmer Diane Bertrand utilizes exquisitely-lit locations — Hamburg’s industrial waterfront figures prominently — with skill, but the narrative feels embalmed long before it ends.

The Ring Finger

France - Germany - U.K.

Production

A Memento Films release of a Bruno Berthemy presentation of a Les Films du Veyrier (France)/Integral Film (Germany)/the Bureau (U.K.) production, in association with Tapioca Films, with participation of Canal Plus. (International sales: Flach Pyramide Intl., Paris.) Produced by Berthemy. Co-producers, Bertrand Faivre, Soledad Gatti-Pascual, Kate Ogborn. Directed, written by Diane Bertrand, based on a novel by Yoko Ogawa.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Alain Duplantier; editor, Nathalie Langlade; music, Beth Gibbons; production designer, Thierry Francois; costume designer, Pascaline Chavanne. Reviewed at L'Epee de Bois, Paris, June 26, 2005. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Olga Kurylenko, Marc Barbe, Stipe Erceg, Edith Scob, Hanns Zischler, Sotigui Kouyate, Doria Achour, Anne Benoit, Louis de Winter.
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