|8:40 p.m.||35 Shots of Rum|
Claire Denis (France, 2008)
(35 rhums). This deeply emotional yet light-of-touch conte evokes nothing so much as Eric Rohmer in his “seasons” quartet as it follows a small circle of black Parisians and their friends in a roundelay of relationships that touches on almost every kind of love there is. Lionel (Alex Descas), a train engineer, shares an apartment with his daughter Jo (Mati Diop), a university student. In the same building live a taxi driver (Nicole Dogué) and a young man who comes and goes (Grégoire Colin). Together, they are a kind of family. We figure out their roles and relationships only gradually as Denis leaves crumbs for us to follow on a narrative path, and that is one of the pleasures of this extraordinarily pleasurable film made up of small moments, of looks and silences, of physicality and pensiveness. Agnès Godard’s cinematography richly limns an interior architecture in which objects take on an Ozu-like delicacy and immediacy, and uses train tracks to propel the story into the out-of-doors and, eventually, the future, as father and daughter face the inevitable: her independence.
• Written by Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau. Photographed by Agnès Godard. With Alex Descas, Mati Diop, Grégoire Colin, Nicole Dogué. (100 mins, In French with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Cinema Guild