The Dreamlife of Angels

Director:Erick Zonca
Writers:Roger Bohbot and Erick Zonca
Sony Pictures Classics; R; 113 minutes
Cast:Élodie Bouchez, Natacha Régnier, Gregoire Colin

The critics at last year' Cannes festival were right to award Best Actress to the two protagonists of The Dreamlife of Angels, Élodie Bouchez and Natacha Régnier. The actresses portray Isa and Marie, two young French women living on the cheap, whose personal rebellions tousle with the stultifying, piecemeal employment they find. Isa's carefree attitude strikes an unsuspecting chord with the more jaded, class-conscious Marie, and soon the two become flatmates. First-time director Erick Zonca pursues a gritty, personal realism with great success; the actresses' camaraderie is at once a testament to their skills and the power of film to create a tangibly multi-textured world.

Working-class Marie strikes up a troubled and unbalanced relationship with a wealthy club-owner (Gregoire Colin); her friendship with Isa is where the strains begin to show. The intimacy revealed through their conflict is one of the film's highlights. Patrick Mercado's endearing performance as the robust biker-bouncer with a tender side is delightfully real. Sensitivity to class issues and unflinchingly personal portrayals combine to make The Dreamlife of Angels a passionate and thought-provoking piece of art.