28 February 2006 | ThomasKus
Thought-provoking and beautiful film
There can't be many films that occupy your mind for many days afterwards, make you read the book they are based on, and then watch them again.
"Innocence" is one of those films and it is both beautiful and intriguing at the same time. It is based on a book by Frank Wedekind called "Mine-Haha or the corporeal education of girls", the only published fragment of his unfinished novel "Hildalla". It was first published in 1901 and although beautifully written it has much darker undertones than the film with references to a body cult of youth and natural beauty which would later become exploited by Nazi culture.
The film is very much a metaphor for a childhood world which is in many ways separate but also protected from that of adults. It plays in an isolated Girls School their children enter at the time when they start to make their own independent experiences of the world around them and ends with the onset of puberty and attainment of menarche, both symbolising the emotional and physical end of childhood. The cinematography is beautiful and reminded me in many ways of Tarkovsky with its symbolism and haunting images. However, the story can seem a little simplistic and linear times and often appears to demand more depth from the young child actors than they could possibly deliver.
Nevertheless this is a very interesting and thought-provoking film and well worth watching. The French dialogue often has a musical quality and as long as you're prepared to watch this in a calm and unhurried state of mind this is very rewarding and unusual cinematic experience.