The Dreamlife of Angels  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Dreamlife of Angels (French: La Vie rêvée des anges) is a 1998 French drama film directed by Erick Zonca.


The film is about two working class women, Isa and Marie, who live in a small French town near Lille. They both have been treated harshly by life and are living from day to day in short-time jobs, such as working in a textile factory or delivering leaflets in the streets. They live in an apartment that Marie is looking after because the owners had a car accident in which everyone died, except for Sandrine, a teenager, who is in a coma. Isa and Marie meet up with two bouncers whom they befriend. The men help them out and they have genuine fun together, although of course the men aren't any better off than the women.

Isa is the kind of girl who always lands on her two feet and has a Que Sera, Sera attitude when it comes to life, while Marie finds it hard to express herself emotionally, and gets angry when she feels vulnerable. Marie cannot put up with the way she is tossed around by the world, and so she tries to escape through a local playboy, Chris, a rich guy, who owns a bar and a night club, and regularly goes out with girls and views Marie as just another one of his random flings. Isa is tougher in that she can take the beating and stick with what is around her, and does not get carried away by the false possibility of a better life.

Isa finds the diary of Sandrine, and decides to read it to her aloud in the hospital. Meanwhile, Chris decides to end his fling with Marie. Instead of breaking up with her in person, he has Isa tell her for him.(As he was afraid Marie would self destruct in front of him.) After learning about Chris' decision to end the relationship, Marie jumps out of a window. On a happier note, Sandrine comes out of her coma. The film ends with Isa starting to work in a new factory.

General meaning

The film is really about strength of personality, friendship and the world around us that we don't see because we cannot picture ourselves in other people's shoes. The director, Erick Zonca, helps us see the world through the eyes of these two lonely young women, who have limited control over what is going to happen in their lives. Watching them it is clear that enormous strength is required to go through with it, and so it comes as no surprise that Marie eventually cannot take it.

The title refers to a note Isa writes to Marie, telling her that Sandrine went out of the coma and they will have to leave the apartment, wishing in good will that Marie gets to live the life she always dreamed of. Shortly after she sees Marie's body beneath the window.

The film suggests the idea of the world's cyclical nature. Early in the film, we learn that Marie's father abused her mother. In the end, Marie becomes like her mother, a victim.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Dreamlife of Angels" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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