Saturday, June 15, 2013

Les Salauds / Bastards

FR 2013. D: Claire Denis. 2K DCP with English subtitles from Wild Bunch viewed at the School / Kitisenrannan koulu, Sodankylä (Midnight Sun Film Festival), 15 June 2013

Introduced by Claire Denis, presented by Satu Kyösola.

The Festival Catalogue: "The captain on a container-ship, Marco Silvestri, is called urgently back to Paris. His sister, Sandra, is desperate… her husband has committed suicide, the family business has gone under, her daughter has gone adrift. Sandra accuses the powerful businessman, Edouard Laporte responsible. Marco moves into the building where Laporte's mistress lives with his son. What Marco hadn't foreseen are Sandra's shameful, secret manœuvres… and his love for Raphaëlle which could ruin everything."
   "Bastards - Claire Denis's latest and the first full-length film since his 2009 White Material recently competed at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard selection. A lot of Denis's recurring cast and crew are present, including the actors Michel Subor, Grégoire Colin and Alex Descas. The two main protagonists are portrayed by Chiara Mastroianni and Vincent Lindon."
   "We may only speculate on the extent of the emotional impact made on the Midnight Sun Film Festival crowd by the one of the most anticipated new releases of the year: a film by a director known for her masterful depiction of hidden emotions, repressed instincts and the smallest nuances of human communication."
(Lauri Timonen)

In her introduction Claire Denis, who had been fine-tuning the final release edition of Les Salauds until yesterday, told that not until the film was finished did she realize how desolate it was.

Like Pedro Almodóvar's Los amantes pasajeros / I'm So Excited, Les Salauds is a poet's vision about the status of the world: epic financial fraud and sexual abuse in DSK style in the highest circles of society. Almodóvar plays it for a crazy farce, Claire Denis creates a horror film.

The main viewpoint is that of Captain Silvestri (the sad-eyed Vincent Lindon), and the female protagonist is Sandra (Chiara Mastroianni), married to a financial tycoon (Michel Subor).

The narrative is enigmatic, the storylines are broken, but it all adds up towards the conclusion.

There are many kinds of violence. There is a horrible car accident with gore and bloody carnage. There is a gunfight, where the most innocent one is the casualty. There is a dimension of sadism with explicit references to torn and badly wounded vaginas. There is even a corncob in the sadists' lair, like in William Faulkner's Sanctuary. "That bastard turned her into her sex object".

The cinematographer is Agnès Godard, and the music is by Tindersticks. It's all well made, but, yes, utterly desolate, without a ray of hope. Even the infinite sea seen in the captain's seafaring sequences in the beginning is desolate.

My favourite Claire Denis films remains 35 rhums.

Visual quality: no problem with the 2K DCP.

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