Claire Denis’ latest may appear whisper-thin on the surface, yet it’s marvelously profound, illuminating the love between a father and daughter but also highlighting the difficulty of relinquishing what most people spend a lifetime putting into place.
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In its modest scope and mellow tone, 35 Shots of Rum resembles Olivier Assayas’s "Summer Hours," another recent film by a French director who has sometimes trafficked in provocation and extremity. Both movies embed extraordinary thematic richness within a simple, almost anecdotal narrative framework, and both achieve a rare eloquence about the state of the world by means of tact and reticence.
To fall in love with it, viewers only have to be receptive to a movie that examines the ties that bind with grace, wit and depth.
Superbly played and realised, this stays with you.
There is never a shortage of options if you're looking for an intimate foreign drama about family bonds. But the eloquent insights of director Claire Denis stand alone.
For 20 years, Claire Denis has been among France's foremost filmmakers with her acute yet subtle observations of the ebbs and flows within relationships. Her perception and understanding seem to grow only richer over the years, and her newest film, 35 Shots of Rum, is surely one of her finest -- and thereby one of the best films of the year.
35 Shots is Denis's warmest, most radiant work, honoring a family of two's extreme closeness while suggesting its potential for suffocation.
The film evolves into a simple, intimate, acutely emotional portrait of a family reaching a painful crossroads.
Denis -- who has called the film a tribute to the great Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu -- keeps dialogue to a minimum as she delicately examines how immigration is changing the face of France.