La Boîte noire (2005)

The Black Box (English Title)
Short Facts

Screenwriter: ,
Based upon: Short story by Tonino Benacquista
Starring: , , , , ,
Genre: ,
Runtime: 90 minutes
MPAA Rating: France: n/a, US: n/a, UK: n/a
Filming Dates: 2004
Filming Locations: Cherbourg, Studio Epinay in Paris (France)
Theatrical Release: France: 2 Nov 2005, US: n/a, UK: n/a
DVD Release: France: 17 May 2006, US: n/a, UK: n/a

L'oublie est un besoin vital (Forgetting is a vital need)

Arthur is left in a coma for several hours after a car accident. While coming to, he raves incoherently, giving free reign to things directly rooted in his unconscious. When conscious again, he’s confronted by a curious dilemma: what was he doing that night on the road near Cherbourg?

Isabelle, one of the nurses at the hospital, noted Arthur’s troubling, disturbing and liberating ramblings in a black notebook. To help him answer his questions, she gives Arthur the notebook, as though offering him a treasure, the written testimony of his delirium.

From that moment on an incredible adventure begins for Arthur; he’ll be the victim, the guilty party and the investigator… of his own life.

Invaded by the traumas of our unconscious, should we nevertheless stamp out the memories that clutter up our minds?

Marion Cotillard

Marion Cotillard plays Isabelle one of the nurses at the hospital in the first part of the film. Then she becomes Alice in Arthur’s mind, his girlfriend.


• French working title: Le Texas n’existe pas
• Was shown at a number of Film Festivals in 2006: Bangkok French Film Festival, Los Angeles City of Lights, City of Angels, Pusan International Film Festival

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From other people

Marion Cotillard is a gift. She is an actress that I love. She puts a lot of herself into her characters, embodies them in all their depth, she’s passionate, beautiful, human. Her enthusiasm for the script and the film also never weakened. For each scene, you can ask her for the smallest detail, the slightest frown. It is a total bliss!
• Richard Berry (Director)

Whether Marion Cotillard, Bernard Le Coq, Gérald Laroche, Héléna Noguerra or Marysa Borini, they’ve all impressed me.
• José Garcia

From Marion Cotillard

Then I read the script, the strength and intelligence of which captivated me. I then had lunch with Richard to discuss it. I immediately grasped how important THE BLACK BOX was for him. I felt that he was passionate about it, no more, totally invested. He told me about his research with a contagious zeal and enthusiasm. He wanted to meet again to show me pictures, to make me listen to music. In short, he invited me to dive into the film’s universe long before the actual filming began. You simply cannot refuse working with such a generous artist.

I was apparently talking in my sleep during my teenage years. I’ve always dreamed of knowing what I was saying and I have repeatedly tried to record myself at night. Problem: no cassette lasts more than 1h 30min, so I never got to hear myself. Or rather to hear this part of my subconscious. Such a pity. Just to show you that my need to go in search of myself goes back a long time. Thus, the subject of the film strangely resonated with me.

As Richard nicely said when he presented her character to me, Isabelle gives Arthur the keys which enable him to unlock the doors to his unconscious. She acts on a natural impulse. She doesn’t hesitate to violate the hospital’s ethic code by scribbling down Arthur’s comments on a notebook while he’s in a coma, because she follows a psychoanalysis herself and knows of their priceless value. Isabelle is also the first person Arthur sees when he awakens. He’s immediately seduced by her sensitivity and honesty. While Arthur doubts everyone, he trusts her, guided by instinct and without even knowing her. At least thats what we think … The second part will enlighten us on the deeper meaning of his choice.

Awards & Nominations

= Win = Nomination

None for this performance