"The Girl From Nowhere"

More French than morning-after baguette and cheap red wine, and about as fresh, Gallic writer-director Jean-Claude Brisseau's "The Girl From Nowhere" is under the mistaken impression that it's a gourmet meal.

More French than morning-after baguette and cheap red wine, and about as fresh, Gallic writer-director Jean-Claude Brisseau’s “The Girl From Nowhere” is under the mistaken impression that it’s a gourmet meal. The helmer himself plays a widower who’s writing a tract on life’s illusions when he takes in a homeless hottie with paranormal inclinations. Often playing like the incoherent, pseudo-intellectual sexual fantasies of a lonely old man, this $75,000 French indie nonetheless walked away with Locarno’s top prize, which will ensure some fest visibility.

Retired teacher Michel (Brisseau, not a pro actor) writes about life’s quotidian chimeras, as expressed through religion and art. A girl (Virginie Legeay, vivacious) is severely beaten on Michel’s doorstep, but instead of medical attention, she asks for a place to crash and becomes — amazingly — his editor. He’s convinced she might be his wife’s reincarnation, as she knows how to make tables levitate and weird noises emanate from the bathroom. What it all adds up to is another mystery entirely. Low-budget tech package is impressively slick; title’s reference to Delluc’s 1922 masterpiece, “The Woman From Nowhere,” is simply awkward.

The Girl From Nowhere

France

Production

A La Sorciere Rouge production. Produced, directed, written by Jean-Claude Brisseau.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), David Chambille; editors, Maria-Luisa Garcia, Julie Picouleau; production designers, Clemence Bry, Garcia; costume designer, Garcia. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (competing), Aug. 8, 2012. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Jean-Claude Brisseau, Virginie Legeay, Claude Morel.

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