In Under the Sand (Sous le sable), Charlotte Rampling is a woman whose husband disappears during a holiday at the beach.When Marie returns to their Paris apartment, she continues to see and talk to him as if he was still there. It’s unclear why or how Jean Drillon (Bruno Cremer) vanishes - the film is from Rampling’s point of view and we, literally, see Jean as Rampling does.
Rampling’s portrait of a seemingly rational woman obviously unbalanced by grief is compelling. But her character is frustratingly obstinate and difficult to fathom. She happily continues spending from Jean’s bank account in the belief that he’ll be back to authorise her withdrawals, but admits to his disappearance enough to be disturbed at the sight of a cemetery and to embark on a brief affair with a man she meets at a party.To his credit, director and co-writer François Ozon beautifully captures the details of Marie’s daily life in Paris - her exercise routine, the classes she teaches. But an oblique ending only adds to the mystery and exasperation and provides the characters - and the audience - with little sense of closure.