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Camille Claudel 1915 (2013)

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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,957 users   Metascore: 65/100
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Winter, 1915. Confined by her family to an asylum in the South of France - where she will never sculpt again - the chronicle of Camille Claudel's reclusive life, as she waits for a visit from her brother, Paul Claudel.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Robert Leroy ...
Le médecin
Jean-Luc Vincent ...
Sandra Rivera ...
Soeur Sandra
Emmanuel Kauffman ...
Le prêtre
Marion Keller ...
Mlle Blanc
Nicole Faurite ...
Soeur Nicole
Myriam Allain ...
Pensionnaire entravée
Florence Philippe ...
Soeur Florence
Claire Peyrade ...
Pensionnaire bain
Eric Jacoulet ...
L'interne
Régine Gayte ...
Soeur Régine
Armelle Leroy-Rolland ...
La jeune soeur novice
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Storyline

Winter, 1915. Confined by her family to an asylum in the South of France - where she will never sculpt again - the chronicle of Camille Claudel's reclusive life, as she waits for a visit from her brother, Paul Claudel.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on letters | See All (1) »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

13 March 2013 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Camille Claudel, 1915  »

Box Office

Budget:

€3,200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$783 (USA) (8 November 2013)

Gross:

$21,960 (USA) (22 November 2013)
 »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

Juliette Binoche and a cast of mental patients. What could possibly go wrong?
12 October 2014 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Juliette Binoche and a cast of mental patients. What could possibly go wrong? And the answer is: nothing. This film is practically flawless from start to finish. I'll forewarn you by saying you mustn't expect a biographical story relating the turbulent life of sculptor Camille Claudel. For that, you might want to check out the 1988 film "Camille Claudel" starring Isabelle Adjani.

"Camille Claudel 1915" is, as director Bruno Dumont says, "a film about someone who spends her time doing not much". In other words, this won't give you the saucy, dramatic story of Camille's affair with her mentor Rodin, nor will it attempt to explain what her "mental illness" was, and very few clues are given as to why she ends up at a mental asylum to begin with. Perhaps even more noticeable is the fact that none of Camille's art is shown or alluded to. This movie, quiet but moving, is simply about 3 days in the life of Camille as she copes with an artist's worst torture: boredom.

Camille is excellently played by Juliette Binoche who describes this film as "mostly silent with only two or three moments with a lot of speaking, as if all the words she hadn't been able to say come out in a rush, all at once." Indeed, she doesn't say a word for almost the first 10 minutes. But through the use of extreme, unsettling closeups, and some painfully telling facial expressions, the film conveys almost everything we need to know without words. When Juliette does open her mouth to deliver her monologues, they are absolutely riveting, emotional and affecting. It should be noted that many of her lines were improvised, having only 4 pages of script to work with. Dumont simply asked her to fill in the blanks.

Similarly improvised were all the roles of the mental patients around her. These were actual mental patients (attended by actual nurses dressed as nuns). The patients were never told what to do or how to "act". Instead Dumont wanted to capture the true environment of a mental institution which he felt is the same story 100 years ago as it is today. If Dumont needed a certain reaction or expression from a patient, for example an intense look of pensiveness, he would give the patient a piece of scotch tape to play with and film the patient's reaction. This all makes for very genuine cinema, the kind you could never get from SAG card-carrying actors.

Thus, don't expect a lot of dramatic scenes of patients being tortured by their sadistic keepers à la "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest". Here instead is a very realistic image of a mental institution where people are cared for, and it's simply their condition of idleness and lassitude which is the torture. That itself conveys more hopelessness than if we were to see Nurse Ratched administering shock therapy.

Excellent cinematography and stunningly gorgeous locations round out this film. I don't recall hearing any music, and there are certainly no car chases and shootouts. No fancy camera tricks; in fact most of the takes are very long and still, allowing the images and actors to tell the story. I would compare this movie to other laconic, beautifully-shot films like "The Spirit of the Beehive" (1973) or some of Herzog's early work.


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