Having packed up her possessions to move in with her lover, Laure is more unsettled than she appears. Needing to get out and have a change of scenery, she jumps in her car to go to have dinner with friends--only to become stuck in a terrible traffic jam. Laure completely forgot about the mass transit strike that has thrown the city into chaos. But Laure feels good in her car, the only place she has for herself right now. As she takes in the sights and sounds around her--the blare of horns and arguments, the shimmer of lights and camaraderie--Laure notices a calm and self-assured stranger, Jean, approach her car. Soon thereafter, she opens her car door door to the man who--that night--will change her life.Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Claire Denis' films may look slick to the jaundiced American audiences, since many fashion and advertising makers employ devices that create Denis-esque effects. Beau Travail was unfortunately evocative of Bruce Webers' damp pretty man ad campaigns and books, yet the power of the film remained when the memory of the packaging had faded.
This film was beautiful to my innocent eye, as it wistfully, abstractly spreads out night-time Paris as a diorama into which drivers and passengers are thrown during a harrowing transit strike. The intimacy that occurs in the film between strangers is intensely depicted - close close close and the camera - as with Beau Travail - is genius. The film made me sad to consider the sense of loneliness inside of that city and my own during the night, yet I am pleased to have seen such a lovely rendering of that idea. I saw the film last night and the pictures are still downloading inside today, my mark of great films.
Finally, THANK YOU Claire Denis for never being ponderously intellectual during appearances and for not feeling that you need 3 hour films to make art. This film - in less than 90 minutes - is more profound than any of the 3 hour French films made.
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