Fragile : fear on the Lagoon
by Fabien Lemercier
Anguish and terror on the programme yesterday on the Venice Lagoon with the screening, out of competition, of the horror film Fragile [+see also:
film profile] made by Spanish filmmaker Jaume Balaguero. Faithful to the traditions of the genre and to his first three features (including Darkness [+see also:
film profile] in 2002), the Catalan director made the audience of journalists tremble while offering a film of high visual quality. This good impression was, however, sullied by an excessively happy ending but which gives Fragile strong chances of export internationally, more so since it was made in English and boasts the American actress Calista Flockhart.
With an atmosphere hevaily inspired by the Shining by Stanley Kubrick, the story unfolds at a hundred miles per hour with strange phenomena taking place in an isolated children’s hospital on a British island. Called to help out, a nurse, Amy, soon finds herself confronted with dark occult forces from the abandoned second floor of the building. A classic mood of anguish establishes itself: fugitive apparitions, oppressive corridors, troubling noises, intuitions of a medium, lifts out of order, telekinesis. Obliged to make her own investigation, the nurse must break the curse that holds her colleagues and face the growing danger and edgy violence, in a screenplay written by the director. Regularly gory and flirting at the end with the disaster movie genre, Fragile is best served by the sophisticated photography of the DoP Xavi Gimenez, the director’s faithful cameraman. Accentuated by heavy rain, which reinforces the sensation of huis clos, the dark blue hue of the images succeeds in creating an atmosphere which helps produce the shivers, of which Fragile is not short.
Produced by the company Castelao Productions in association with Filmax International (who also handle distribution in Spain and international sales), Fragile was co-produced with Just Films, S.L. and aided notably by the Media programme. Being screened also in the Venice Screenings market, it will be released on 21st October in Spanish cinemas and the 19th January 2006 in Holland (A-Film Distribution).
(Translated from French)
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