She’s One of Us (review)
The often conflicting human drives for social acceptance and liberated individuality are at all-out war with each other in this disconcerting film, a striking debut from director Siegrid Alnoy and star Sasha Andres. In another iteration, the spare script — by Alnoy, Jérôme Beaujour and François Favrat — could have been the blueprint for a very pedestrian horror flick: Andres’s Christine Blanc is a lonely temp office worker who will go to great lengths to ingratiate herself with her coworkers, starting with pretenses of sociability and outright lies about herself and escalating from there, so desperate is she to belong. But Alnoy’s deceptively sedate pacing and cinematographer Christophe Pollack’s achingly desolate imagery create a hauntingly oppressive aura of bleak emotional isolation and a pressure to conform that’s as stifling as it is desirable, and Andres is simultaneously chilling and sympathetic as a woman out of step with the rest of the world, and miserable with it. (Everyone who’s raving about similarly themed The Assassination of Richard Nixon needs to see this one: this is how it’s done.) Should social conformity, taken to extremes, be considered a kind of psychosis, as Alnoy seems to be suggesting? Those are the kinds of conundrums — as intriguing as they are, possibly, absurd — this frequently frustrating but always fascinating film will leave you with.