|Index||4 reviews in total|
TFO is putting on a Claire Denis retrospective, which comprises
Chocolat, 35 rhums, L'intrus and four others. This is therefore a rare
opportunity to survey her work over her career. While I admire Beau
travail enormously, and found Vendredi soir very appealing, I must say
that her films frustrate me more than they enlighten or entertain. Her
stripping away of the things she considers inessential always struck me
as arbitrary and untrue to the spirit of cinema. I always want more
when I watch, say, Chocolat--more dialog, more examination of the
characters's back stories.
Nenette et Boni is about average for Denis: lots of extreme close-ups (I really didn't need so many of Colin's back and shoulders), cursory development of characters (we never get a really good grasp of why the kids hate their father), and poor use of dialog. There is a scene between Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi as the friendly baker's wife and Colin who is infatuated with her that goes nowhere at all. Nenette et Boni has much more dialog than usual for Denis, and it's not productive.
Happily, there are the actors. Gregoire Colin, Alex Descas and Alice Houri are part of Denis's repertory players and they do fine. Jacques Nolot as the hapless father is sometimes very touching.
My main if not sole reason for seeing this was the fact that it featured Valeria Bruni Tedeschi in a supporting role. Although as a rule I'm a great admirer of French female directors like Nicole Garcia, Ann Fontaine, Claire Kurys, Tonie Marshall, Danielle Thompson, etc I've found it hard to warm to Claire Denis but that may, of course, be more my fault than hers. I did enjoy Vendredi Soir and J'ai pas sommeil was not as bad as I had feared but she lost me completely with L'Intrus and the subject matter of Beau Travail didn't appeal. There's very little here that we haven't seen before in terms of our old friend the dysfunctional family and it was too easy to nod off especially as Bruni Tedeschi was under used. Having said that I'm sure it will have its admirers.
A typical French art-house film when you consider most French art-house films to be filled with mindless imagery and deep misleading symbolism with a sharp and incomplete ending. Either way, Nenette et Boni is a nice coming of age drama about growing up and changing as a person. It's innocent how the only character in the movie who isn't 'horny' is the pet rabbit. Everyone else is always on the look out for love, one way or another. Vincent Gallo was a nice surprise. To see an American have a roll in a French film can sometimes be a treat. Here, he is. Much like the rest of the cast, he shows his emotions physically.
This movie put me to sleep. The only highlight of the movie is in the last five minutes... but I won't describe it here. The only reason I can think of to see this movie is to support your local independent movie theater. The acting is pretty tame as well.
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