35 Shots of Rum Screen 11 articles

35 Shots of Rum

2008

35 Shots of Rum Poster
  • 35 Shots of Rum is a modest enterprise. Its narrative—which borrows liberally (and undisguisedly) from Yasujuro Ozu’s Late Spring—is perfectly comprehensible on a first viewing. But it is not a retreat. Its modesty is the kind borne not of tentativeness but rather supreme confidence, and proves as beguiling—and irreducible—as L’Intrus’ ellipticism.

  • We all have blind spots, and Denis seems to be one of mine. Her films, from “Chocolat” (1988) to “L’Intrus” (2004), always seem to me to be gorgeous, visually inventive contexts that flirt with substance and invention but never consummate the relationship... Ozu this is not — the Japanese master’s films are bustling with information as well as strict eloquence — but Denis is masterful at laying out a place and time via fragments coalescing into a whole.

  • It's a given that the father-daughter bubble must eventually burst, but the smart writer-director Claire Denis (Beau Travail) has other, subtler things on her mind than Electra-complex melodrama. This 2008 feature is beautiful but very quietly so, and definitely not for the ADHD set.

  • ...Perhaps the most accessible film this devotee to the allusive and the oblique has ever made, but losing none of Denis' emotionally vibrant and sensually rich impressionism. An ode to Ozu's Late Spring only in its focus on what people—in families, in relationships, and those without those things—desire to hold on to and to let go, 35 Rhums is the most centered Denis has been since her one-night-stand miniature, Friday Night...

  • Love permeates Claire Denis’ 35 Rhums, too, a tender depiction of the about-to-be-broken link between a father (Alex Descas) and grown-up daughter (Mati Diop). Denis took a big risk with this Ozu homage, but she’s up to it: it’s one of her everyday films (alongside Friday Night, 2003), the stream of her work I like best, and a beautiful weave of locations, working-day actions, music and sentimental incidents that veer from the tragic (an old friend laid off at work) to the sensually charged.

  • An homage to both Yasujiro Ozu's similarly themed Late Spring (1949) and her own mother's relationship with her grandfather, 35 Shots is Denis's warmest, most radiant work, honoring a family of two's extreme closeness while suggesting its potential for suffocation.

  • There is so much coercive moralizing and pontificating in Ozu’s film. Denis’ remarkable decision at key moments in 35 Shots of Rum is to reduce them to silence... Denis’ renunciation of speech is most obvious and moving in the shots of Lionel and Jo in their camper van. You hear the sea, the clink of a bottle, some sniffs and sighs, and the sound of passing children singing in German that blends with Tindersticks’ score.

  • What Denis is able to make out of these elements isn't a lesson in economy, but a story of how the most mundane things (a For Sale sign, a blue door, two rice cookers, a cerulean table top, an iPod's white headphones, a bar's asparagus-colored walls, The Commodores' post-Lionel Richie hit "Nightshift") and gestures (half-hearted dancing, a kiss on the cheek, a lean, a glance) acquire meaning in our lives, and how, through that shared meaning, we come to understand one another.

  • 35 rhums is one of the greatest films of Denis’ career, one in which the filmmaker, influenced by the skill and style of Ozu, encounters a delicate balance between ritual and tragedy, loss and daily life. Never has Denis been so subtle in her mise en scène, never so evocative and mysterious. 35 rhums is a masterpiece of sorts, a film that demands to be seen over and over again.

  • Denis’ use of the static camera in the domestic scenes not only provides the setting with a sense of stability but also serves to create pauses in which we have time to reflect on the characters, their lives, and their interactions through the view of the environment of their everyday life.

  • Numerous scenes burn into the mind, including major events like suicide and marriage, but the fullest expression of the film’s gentle evocation of time comes when Gabrielle’s car breaks down in a rainstorm as she drives Lionel, Jo and Noé to a concert...

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