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OF WOMEN AND MAGIC

France, 1999 (MIFF 2000, Towering Over The Eiffel – New French Cinema)

Director: Claude Miller

Claude Miller's Of Women and Magic is a succinct, dryly played, often laugh-out-loud funny movie. Director of last year's frightening but fantastic Class Trip, Miller's latest film scooped the International Critics Prize at this year's Berlin Film Festival. This is a cautionary tale of one woman's mysterious ailments and her bizarre hospital stay. Reminiscent of Lars Von Trier's The Kingdom, it is both whimsical and spooky. Crumbling under the pressures of a family, married lover and imminent exams, 30-year-old Anthropology student Claire suffers from migraines and fainting spells. After a series of strange, confrontational interviews with the sinister and flaky Dr Fish, Claire is sent to a neurological hospital for a month of treatment and recuperation. A sly script and terrific performances highlight a medical system gone crazily awry. As Claire's symptoms refuse to abate it becomes obvious that there is much more to her room-mate—the seemingly senile Eleonore—than can be explained.

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