35 Rhums / 35 Shots of Rum
Films about families and their complications all too often pierce eardrums with shrieks of dysfunction. Amid the din, Claire Denis’s sublime 35 Shots of Rum stands out all the more for its soothing quiet, conveying the easy, frequently nonverbal intimacy between a widowed father, Lionel, and his university-student daughter, Joséphine. An homage to Yasujiro Ozu’s similarly themed Late Spring (1949), 35 Shots is Denis’s warmest, most radiant work, honoring a family of two’s extreme closeness while suggesting its potential for suffocation. 35 Shots is firmly rooted in place, several scenes unfolding in an apartment building in a run-down section of Paris’s 18th arrondissement, home to Lionel and Joséphine; Gabrielle, an ex of Lionel’s who still aches for him; and Noé, nursing a crush on Joséphine. Dyads align, shift, break, and regroup among the foursome, jealousy simmering during an unforgettable scene at a café, in which Noé cuts in on a sweetly dancing Lionel and Joséphine as the Commodores’ “Night Shift” plays. Nonsexual filial devotion is immediately supplanted by heat and desire. Father and daughter’s comfortable life together will need to end—an inevitability that even Lionel recognizes as necessary, no matter how painful.
(Claire Denis, 2008, 100 min, 35mm)
The Tournées Festival of New French Cinema
January 7-February 4, 2011
For the third winter, the FSC and France Chicago Center partner to bring a series of contemporary French films to campus. This year, spend five Friday evenings with the films of innovative directors whose work represents the best of French cinema today.
Support for the Tournées Festival is provided by The French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, The Centre National de la Cinématographie, The Florence Gould Foundation, The Grand Marnier Foundation and highbrow entertainment.