Over the years, the FSLC has offered a number of films from New Wave director Claude Chabrol and newer-wave wonder Claire Denis. This Rendez-vous offers them both -- the former working his usual mystery vein of French bourgeois hypocrisy (in a city in which everybody seems to know everybody else), the latter offering another very different addition to her troubling explorations of character and place.
First the Denis. I'm happy to report that the filmmaker has forsaken, for now at least, the impenetrably fudgey, dreamlike nature of her last Rendez-vous effort, The Intruder. With 35 SHOTS OF RUM, she gives us an intimate family drama about taking leave -- of locations, desires, each other, and life itself. Post-film, what you're likely to remember best are the beautiful and expressive faces of the characters here: A father, his daughter, the woman next door, friends, co-workers, a neighbor -- literally everyone encountered in this amazingly-photographed movie.
No distributor's been set as yet for 35 Shots of Rum (step forward now, please!). If tickets remain, you can see it at the IFC Center on Thursday, March 12, at 7 or at the Walter Reade on Friday, March 13, at 1:30 and 6:15 and Sunday, March 15, at 8.
|Of the French New Wave directors, no one has achieved the output -- in terms of sheer running time -- as Claude Chabrol (right). Approaching 80, he's made 71 films (mostly theatrical, a little TV). While Godard, who's the same age, is on record for 91 outings, many of these are not full-length. Eric Rohmer, who will be 90 soon, has made 51, and Jacques Rivette, who's 81, has made only 32 (but his are often long). Each of the men and one woman (Agnès Varda) who make up the group of directors often associated with the New Wave are so spectacularly different in their style and interests, that it's no wonder, taken together, they were able to point movies in a new direction. Of them all, Chabrol seems to be the one who has changed the least over the years. He has his interests and his style (some might suggest a lack if it) and he continues on his path, making films that are sometimes more, sometimes less, successful with audiences and critics but that adhere to the theme of unmasking the hypocrisy residing in his characters, who often come from the haute bourgeoisie. The films usually take the shape of a mystery.|
|Fortunately, the film has two stories going on at once, one mirroring the other in terms of emotional landscape. Depardieu's inspector has a no-account brother (Clovis Cornillac, above, also seen in Rendez-vous' Faubourg 36) who comes for a visit, wreaking his own havoc on the people around him, just as the "criminal," played by the ever sleek and sophisticated Jacques Gamblin, above, with toothbrush) is doing to those around him. This provides the emotional core of the movie and accounts for its working as well as it does. What looks initially like a old-fashioned nod to the portly, clever detective (Depardieu is carrying a lot of weight these days) is, in fact, a messy upheaval of raw, often repressed and mostly unresolved jealousy and anger within people who have barely begun to explore themselves.|
Bellamy -- with no US distributor in place as yet -- is getting five (count em!) showings in Rendez-vous: at the IFC Center tonight Friday, March 6, at 9:30 and Tuesday, March 10, at 9:30, and at the Walter Reade on Thursday, March 12, at 3:45; Saturday, March 14, at 9:30; and Sunday, March 15, at 1.