When the Sea Rises... is the first film written and directed by actress Yolande Moreau (who also stars in the film) and cinematographer Gilles Porte (who also shot the film). Moreau stars as Irène, who is traveling the north of France performing her one-woman show. In the stage show, Irène plays a loud, obese, ugly (she wears a clownish mask) woman who comically confesses murder to the audience. At each performance, she pulls a random man out of the crowd and makes him her accomplice/lover in a mock robbery. One day on the road, Irène's car breaks down, and Dries (Wim Willaert) happens by on his scooter and rescues her. She gratefully gives him tickets to that night's performance. Spotting him with his friends in the audience, she pulls him up on stage, making him her "chicken" for that show. After the show, Dries and his friends invite her out for a drink. The next night, Dries shows up in the audience again, but gets thrown out when he gets into an argument with some rude latecomers. Irène catches him in her dressing room after the show, and gives him hell. But outside, she sees he's been in a fight and had his tires slashed, so she gives him a ride home. Dries is also a performer of sorts, building and operating giant costumes for parades throughout the region. Irène has a husband and child waiting for her back home, but she's caught off guard by Dries' attentions. When she leaves town, he impulsively follows, and the two fall into an unlikely romance. When the Sea Rises... was shown by the Film Society of Lincoln Center as part of their 2005 Rendez-Vous with French Cinema.
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