An outwardly successful woman becomes fascinated with self-mutilation following a disfiguring accident.
De Van's insight into the disturbed female psyche was plainly evident in her screenwriting contribution to Franþois Ozon's outstanding Sous Le Sable. But this solo outing as writer-director-lead lacks the control displayed by Ozon, causing what should have been a harrowing drama to become a vehicle for indulgent showboating.
Rather than exploring the emotional causes of her character's sudden obsession with self-mutilation, de Van dwells on the gory details of the acts of gouging, preservation and consumption; only a strained dinner-table sequence allows us into the mind of this outwardly successful woman.
Perhaps an outside eye might have guided her laudably intense performance in a more revealing and rewarding direction.
A failed attempt to be thought-provoking about a difficult subject, this leaves us little the wiser as to its heroine's true character.