The Dreamlife Of Angels

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NC-17
  • Drama

Set in the bleak, northern French city of Lille, Erick Zonca's masterful first feature finds light inside each of its disparate characters: An aimless but optimistic waif, a brutish-looking but tender bouncer, and a beauty whose fierce inner unrest makes her wound others before they can hurt her. Drifter Isa (Elodie Bouchez) lives out of a backpack, but...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

  • Watch on
Reviewed by Sandra Contreras
Rating:

Set in the bleak, northern French city of Lille, Erick Zonca's masterful first feature finds light inside each of its disparate characters: An aimless but optimistic waif, a brutish-looking but tender bouncer, and a beauty whose fierce inner

unrest makes her wound others before they can hurt her. Drifter Isa (Elodie Bouchez) lives out of a backpack, but exudes a curious serenity. During a brief stint at a sweatshop, she latches onto the awkward, quarrelsome Marie (Natacha Régnier), who's apartment-sitting for a hospitalized mother and

daughter. When Isa is fired, Marie quits in a show of solidarity and the girls begin a period of half-hearted job seeking and full-time idling. Isa seems to have a softening effect on Marie, and they hook up with a pair of bouncers, Charly (Patrick Mercado) and Fredo (Jo Prestia). Marie ends up

bedding the sweet but corpulent Charly, then flings herself into a self-destructive affair with Chriss, (Gregoire Colin), a wealthy idler who owns the club where Charly and Fredo sometimes work. Isa, meanwhile, finds the diary of the young girl in whose home they're living, and begins visiting the

comatose adolescent at the hospital. Isa is also uncharacteristically hostile to Chriss, intuiting that Marie's masochistic relationship with Chriss exacerbates her simmering self-hatred. Cinematographer Agnes Godard's hand-held photography and naturalistic lighting contribute to the sense that

this story was found rather than stamped out by some predetermined mold. On paper, Isa and Marie seem like a study in simple contrasts. But Bouchez and Régnier (who shared the Best Actress Prize at last year's Cannes for their brilliant, unmannered performances) breathe life into them, delivering

infinitely subtle and heartbreaking characterizations. Zonca's delicate film is both a literal and metaphorical breath of fresh air, lovingly and with wrenching sadness depicting the birth and death of dreams.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NC-17
  • Review: Set in the bleak, northern French city of Lille, Erick Zonca's masterful first feature finds light inside each of its disparate characters: An aimless but optimistic waif, a brutish-looking but tender bouncer, and a beauty whose fierce inner unrest makes… (more)

Show More »

Trending TonightSee all »