Starring: Catherine Frot, Deborah Francois
Studio: Diaphana/Tartan Video TVD2032
Video: 16:9 anamorphic, color
Audio: French DTS 5.1, DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Extras: “The Making of The Page Turner,” Theatrical trailer
Length: 81 minutes
If this were a book – and it was – it would certainly be a page turner, and the movie makes a wicked psychological thriller out of it. The beautiful but cold young woman Melanie has in mind a deliberately-plotted revenge on a classical pianist who figured in an unfortunate experience for her as a child ten years earlier. The woman was one of the judges of her performance of a piano piece and during Melanie’s performance accepted signing of an autograph for someone who came into the room. This disrupted Melanie and her playing fell apart so she wasn’t selected for further study.
The young woman applies for a job in the law office of the concert pianist’s husband and soon is invited to move into the family’s chateau to take care of their young son – also studying piano. The concert pianist doesn’t recognise Melanie and learning that she reads music asks her to become her page turner for some important concerts. An unspoken sexual attraction to Melanie causes the pianist to trust her implicitly – even in the face of inexplicable behavior on Melanie’s part. The revenge plan begins to fall into place.
The film’s visual quality and transfer is excellent, with detail approaching hi-res. The DTS soundtrack is very natural and enveloping in the music selections. The featurette is quite interesting in showing how the actors portraying the pianist and her son – who were not professional musicians but had once studied music – were prepared to actually play the selections at the piano. The movement from the Shostakovich Trio which they perform was simplified for them to more easily play, and a very impressive etude which the pianist is playing in her home was especially composed for her to sound more difficult to play than it actually was. The Page Turner has been nominated for 3 different Cesar Awards this year.
– John Sunier