Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: 35 Rhums
France/Germany, 2008. Soudaine Compagnie, Pandora Filmproduktion, Arte France Cinéma, , WDR/Arte, Sofica Soficinéma 4, Canal+, , Centre National de la Cinématographie, Filmförderungsanstalt, Eurimages, Région Ile-de-France, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Procirep, Angoa-Agicoa, Screenplay by Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau. Cinematography by Agnes Godard. Produced by Karl Baumgartner, Bruno Pesery. Music by Tindersticks. Production Design by Arnaud de Moleron. Costume Design by Judy Shrewsbury. Film Editing by Guy Lecorne. National Society of Film Critics Awards 2009. Toronto International Film Festival 2008.
Another sensual, intoxicating piece by Claire Denis, this time focusing on a father and daughter living in a tiny Parisian flat. She takes care of her father in place of her absent mother, but as time is progressing is looking to move on with her life and assert her independence. This is in no small way motivated by the presence of a handsome young man (Grégoire Colin) with whom she is spending more and more time. The performances are all excellent, but what stands out is Denis’ as-usual magical direction: there is a narrative but it is only barely definable, much of it played out through the director’s fascination with the importance of objects; there is tension, but it bubbles quite intensely beneath the surface, playing out through the interactions of highly sympathetic characters who affect us so deeply. Denis is a filmmaker who can fill her screen with beauty, enigma and sympathy without overplaying her hand, here capturing an ethnic culture of the City of Lights without exoticising it or playing to narrow cultural stereotypes.