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Ecoute Le Temps (Fissures) - suspense DVD / psychological thriller DVD / arthouse and international DVD / drama DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Actors: Emilie Dequenne, Mathieu Demy, Ludmila Mikael, Jacques Spiesser, Etienne Chicot
Director: AlantÚ Kava´tÚ   Distributor: E1 Entertainment
DVD release: 05 May 2009   Runtime: 87 min.
(1 disc)
Format: Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Aspect ratio 1.78:1, Audio tracks (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - French), Subtitles (English), Deleted scenes, Trailers, Interactive scene access

"Sometimes, when something happens, it leaves a trace of itself behind. Like when someone burns toast."
The above line, from Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, applies perfectly to the French thriller Ecoute Le Temps (Fissures) as well. Who hasn't wondered - if the walls in nearly any home could talk, what they would say? Does it not seem feasible that an action involving intense emotion, be it happiness, anger, extreme sadness or horror, could create such a core of energy that a trace could remain long after the event has passed?

Such questions are at the core of this film, as a beautiful young heroine named Charlotte (Emile Dequenne), a sound engineer for nature documentaries, goes back to the farmhouse where her mother was recently murdered. The current police investigation has hit a dead end, so she begins her own investigation. While recording seemingly natural sounds in the farmhouse, she makes a startling discovery: her sound equipment can pick up recordings from the past. This newfound ability enables her to piece together a puzzle of sound from the last few days of her mother's life. Will she find the killer before he, or she, finds her?

It's difficult to go into too many details in a thriller like this one for fear of spoiling any surprises. However, in addition to the eerie plot, the film succeeds in mixing in an undercurrent of sadness. Charlotte was estranged from her mother, and the voices from the past slowly reveal what her mother meant to people in the community - and what all Charlotte might have missed due to the estrangement.

I was not totally surprised that such an effective little thriller would come from France, as the French, based on the strength of such outstanding recent horror films and thrillers as Haute Tension, Ils, Calvaire, Inside and Martyrs have surpassed all other film markets, including Hollywood, in the genre (no wonder Hollywood's recent trend is to lure talented French directors over to the West Coast to direct crappy horror remakes).

Though the film is unrated, it could easily pass for PG-13 here in the U.S. Though there is some violence, there is almost no gore, only minimal foul language, and no nudity. Anyone in the mood for a solid thriller that takes the time to set up the story and gives us characters to care about (Charlotte is a heroine worth rooting for) rather than throwing special effects at the screen will likely enjoy Fissures.
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reviewed by Trent Daniel
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