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Film Review: The Call (L’APPEL) (short film)

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SYNOPSIS:

Benoît, 50, is a police lieutenant wounded by the disappearance of his wife, Lise. Unable to perform his grief, he sees his physical and mental health decline when she mysteriously surface again years later.

REVIEW:

More short films, kiddies! Today we have THE CALL (L’APPEL), written and directed by Alban Ravassard. The film is in French with English subtitles.

The story focuses on a man named Benoît (Christian Benedetti), an older provincial policeman slogging through his days with his younger partner Frederic (Johan Libéreau). The classic “old cop/young cop” dynamic that we’ve seen a million times in many a buddy film.

For Benoît, however, there is something else. His wife Lise (Paméla Ravassard) has been missing for years. I also get the impression that Benoît may not have always lived in this quaint little town, since his partner doesn’t seem to be all that clued in.

Anyway, so our officers arrive to investigate a body found by a fisherman. As Benoît goes to do his job, he rolls over the body and suddenly recognizes the victim.

Yes, it’s long lost Lise.

And she isn’t dead. She hops up screaming and doesn’t seem to recognize him, and when he tries to calm her, she bites him and runs off. Some other officers manage to catch her, but now the real fun begins.

Where has she been? What happened to her? And what has she done to Benoît?

I do have more questions than answers concerning the plot of the film, but perhaps the writer meant for that to be the case. I was already starting to dissect certain facts and images even as the credits were starting. Any film that makes you think, if only for a second, is a damn good film.

There are special effects in the film, used minimally but quite well done. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that while I have seen this sort of make up done before, I am very happy with the way it was done this time around.

Just to give a bit of background on this film’s festival history – It has been shown at over 43 international film festivals and currently has won 16 awards between them. These awards include a best actress award for Ms. Ravassard, a best director award for Mr. Ravassard, and an endless parade of “best film/best short” awards across the planet.

These awards are not given out willy-nilly, as I’m sure we are all aware. And this film has earned every last one of them. The story is a bit of everything – mystery, romance, horror. Beautiful performances by Ms. Ravassard and Mr. Benedetti.

So using my special short scale of one to five, five being awesome, I’m giving this film 4 bites.

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