Friday, June 18, 2010

35 rhums

35 Shots of Rum. FR/DE 2008. PC: Soudaine Compagnie etc. P: Karl  Baumgartner, Bruno Pésery. D: Claire Denis. SC: Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau. DP: Agnès Godard. PD: Arnaud de Moleron. S: Josefina Rodríguez, Christophe Winding. ED: Guy Lecome. CAST: Alex Descas (Lionel) Mati Diop (Joséphine), Nicole Dogue (Gabrielle), Grégoire Colin (Noé). 100 min. An Elle Driver print with English subtitles viewed at The Little Tent of Sodankylä (Midnight Sun Film Festival), 18 June 2010.

The print had been made via a digital intermediate but it had a lively photochemical look.

35 rhums comes highly recommended. It performed strongly on the ten best lists of the first decade, and it has been called Claire Denis' best film. It is a compact, intimate ensemble piece about the father Lionel (an African-French train conductor), his daughter Joséphine (a college student), Lionel's ex-girlfriend Gabrielle (a taxi driver), and Joséphine's admirer Noé (a drifter). The film has a fresh touch, it is lively and unexpected, and the relationships of the characters grow in depth. 35 rhums is reportedly an homage to Yasujiro Ozu's Late Spring. Lionel and Gabrielle live in Ozu-like comfortable circumstances in the 18th arrondissement of Paris.

The turning point is on an evening when the car of the protagonists is broken and they seek shelter in a Caribbean bar. The "Night Shift" dancing sequence has become justly famous.

Lionel's colleague René retires, gets depressed, and in a shocking scene, Lionel finds his corpse on the underground tracks.

The 35 shots of rum is what Lionel feels he needs to drink at his daughter's wedding with Noé.

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