Monday, January 2, 2012
Written by Emmanuèle Bernheim (book and script)
Directed by Claire Denis
Starring Valérie Lemercier, Vincent Lindon
a woman is moving in with her boyfriend. there is a public transportation strike going on so everyone in paris is driving a car stuck in standstill traffic because no one can take the metro or a bus. despite being freaked out by a guy near her apartment, and locking her car door, she feels guilty and gives some other dude a ride in his car. where is he going? what's his story? it doesn't matter. that would ruin the sketchy mysterious quality of this character. they end up going to a hotel and having the equivalent of lifetime movie sex. several times. then dinner. then more sex. then she leaves in the morning. movie over.
I'm on the defensive too much with these things. I bite off more than I can chew. People who tend to agree with me make things sounds more interesting than they are. Someone involved with this movie thinks that palm-on-the-face is erotic; I don't. I could probably forgive that and have another public (in front of MAYBE 20 people) argument with my woman if un-sexy sex were the only transgression.
There's more to this than just pretty shots--in fact, the aesthetic here is not "pretty"--because the camera does a good job of setting mood, showing how she's sketched out by this guy and then how they come to some kind of rapport.
I am going to talk about the presentation of the story for a minute, because neither of us could figure it out. The woman is getting ready to move in with her boyfriend, and this is a big deal for her. One aspect which I actually appreciate and respect is how she's not 19 years old: She has a life in the apartment she's leaving; and her nervousness at leaving rings true. But once she exits, there's some kind of break with reality. It's utterly unclear when things are actually happening and when they're happening in her head. I'm not sure if it's one break or multiple--and I'm reasonably confident that this isn't a language barrier issue--but the foundation of the story keeps shifting. Where did the traffic go all of a sudden? How the fuck did her car disappear? Etc. A more-solid conclusion would have helped with our understanding.
holy shit this was terrible. this was one where moster just kept repeating to me as i complained, "but it's shot well." yeah, so! super boring and poor storytelling overrides cinematography. especially at this level. i'm sorry i watched this. you should feel sorry for me too.