the dreamlife of angels is the latest entrée from Erick Zonca, cinema verite with a slice-of-life story so small it’s microscopic. The barely perceptible subtleties and nuances of psycho-sexual behavior are scrutinized in this intimate portrayal of friendship, romance and class issues.
Twenty-year-old Isa (Elodie Bouchez) lives out of her backpack, drifting from town to town in search of work, selling handmade postcards for a few francs when she needs food. She arrives in Lille, hoping to crash with an old friend. Unfortunately, he has left for Belgium. Broke and homeless, Isa takes a job as a seamstress, a gig for which she is ill-qualified. There, she meets Marie (Natache Regnier), also twenty, an insecure girl, unsatisfied with her working class lot in life, and, together, they crash at the flat of a woman and her daughter, recently hospitalized and comatose.
More character study mosaic than story-driven plot, the dreamlife of angels juxtaposes Isa’s happy-go-lucky approach to life with the manic-depression of Marie as they both dream of a better life and a meaning for love.
Elodie Bouchez and Natache Regnier both won the 1998 Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress and the 1998 European Film Award for Best Actress. Bouchez won the 1998 Cesar Award for Best Actress and the Les Prix Lumieres for Best Actress. Regnier won the 1998 Cesar Award for Most Promising Actress. The dreamlife of angels was also awarded the 1998 Cesar Award for Best French Film and Les Prix Lumieres for Best Picture and Best Director.