35 Shots of Rum (12A)

Film

Drama

3_ALEX_DESCAS.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Jul 7 2009

French director Claire Denis’s marvellous latest feature is a portrait of the close relationship between widowed Parisian train driver Lionel  (Alex Descas) and his affectionate student daughter, Joséphine (Mati Diop). Critics have welcomed it as both her warmest movie and, with its quiet observation of small ritual, her most affirmative and Ozu-esque. But though it’s true that ‘35 Shots’ demonstrates an extraordinary reflective ease and contains possibly more hugs and smiles than Denis’s entire oeuvre to date, that is not to say it is a film free of tribulations, tensions and taboos.

The story is simple, a collection of scenes from the life of this small family who live in a flat in the Rue de la Guadeloupe, a little nest where Lionel escapes from the loneliness of his cab and the memory of his losses, and from which Joséphine, inhibited from fullly developing her relationships with her neighbours, surrogate ‘mother’ Gabrielle (Nicole Dogue) and ‘suitor’ Noé (Grégoire Colin), must soon fly.

From this, Denis magically evokes a liberal meditation on family, harmony, loyalty and belonging and their corollaries – loss, transgression, loneliness and separation – and achieves a sweet unity, not least through a beautifully discreet use of symbols, motifs and metaphors. Thus as cinematographer Agnès Godard’s artful visual correspondences (an RER train and a block of  flats shot at night) deepen an understanding of social context, the film’s various vehicles – Lionel’s train thundering into north Paris, his motorbike, the bicycle blocking the hallway – suggest not only specifics of occupation or class, but also journeys of different speeds. The film’s extraordinary economy is typified by a lovely, spontaneous café scene where the principles dance to the Commodores’ ‘Nightshift’, a mini-ballet touchingly evocative of their separate feelings, relationships and destinies.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Jul 10, 2009

Duration:

101 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|26
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Loveni

Thought it was quite beautiful after having gone in without the slightest. The caring between the daughter and her Dad after the loss of the mother/partner is touching despite the various "discoveries" the almost introverted girl makes along the way -. the affair (I took it to be) with the neighbour, her father's sexuality and his need to push her away somehow, for her own good. That was my take on it anyway and I loved it as a whole and especially loved the director's use of the music - still haven't found that Sophia George song they were playing in the car and would be very itnerested to know what concert they were going to, if this was mentioned and I missed it. Yes it was slow at times but a gem nonetheless.

E A Dobson

I liked it,except for the scene with the dead cat,i prefer Beau Travail the only other of her films i`ve seen.Please can someone clear up one point,at the end i presume they are getting married because of the white dress & his suit but a friend(ok it`s me!) thought it might be Lionel`s friends funeral?

LiamJ

The success of this type of film depends on its characters. The problem here is they are kept at arm's length - pensive glances and cryptic language don't provide enough insight. I found the characters as 2-dimensionally drawn as anything from the sorts of Hollywood movies most arthouse fans seem to revile (or at least they take every opportunity to declare that they do). I don't think this film rewards the curiosity of the audience on which it relies. I watched intently, thought about it, and decided it failed on almost every level.

andrew

I guess trying to explain why I loved this movie is like trying to explain why Mozart is great to someone who doesn't listen to classical music. Opera bores me to death, but at least I accept some people can be thrilled by it.

andrew

I guess trying to explain why I loved this movie is like trying to explain why Mozart is great to someone who doesn't listen to classical music. Opera bores me to death, but at least I accept some people can be thrilled by it.

Auter-banal

Pointless French drivel. I suspect those raving about the film are either Denis's pals or are taking the p***. Compared to this, 'Bruno' seemed a masterpiece

jj

Dear Betsey. I suggest you buy a small pot of paint, paint a wall with it and watch it dry. You will have much fun than if you watched this film, and possibly save yourself a few quid.

andrew

It is curious how people either loved or hated it. I presume Denis didn't set out to please everyone. Join the debate: go see it! Maybe I was just in the perfect mood when I went, but though I find many films boring and pretentious, these are the last qualifiers I'd use for 25 rhums. The drama is always intense, but contained, like in most people's lives. People from outside France might also miss out on how revolutionary it is to cast only actors that are not of good old white extraction in "non-ethnic" roles. It doesn't feel contrived at all (it's perfectly consistent with the setting in the suburbs) and Denis never makes it into a big deal.

andrew

It is curious how people either loved or hated it. I presume Denis didn't set out to please everyone. Join the debate: go see it! Maybe I was just in the perfect mood when I went, but though I find many films boring and pretentious, these are the last qualifiers I'd use for 25 rhums. The drama is always intense, but contained, like in most people's lives. People from outside France might also miss out on how revolutionary it is to cast only actors that are not of good old white extraction in "non-ethnic" roles. It doesn't feel contrived at all (it's perfectly consistent with the setting in the suburbs) and Denis never makes it into a big deal.

anita lewton

Its not lazy actors etc etc, - its an auteur director who doesn't need an usa style plotline to make a story- doh! She is well known in most cultural circles! Would any of you seriously just turn up at a gig and watch ' any band from a country you liked?' eg France without researching the band etc ? for gods sake if its not your cup of tea dont go into the cinema! doh !@£$%^* @ thats why journalists exist to give reviews when the film opens - or can't you lot read ? !!!!

anita lewton

Its not lazy actors etc etc, - its an auteur director who doesn't need an usa style plotline to make a story- doh! She is well known in most cultural circles! Would any of you seriously just turn up at a gig and watch ' any band from a country you liked?' eg France without researching the band etc ? for gods sake if its not your cup of tea dont go into the cinema! doh !@£$%^* @ thats why journalists exist to give reviews when the film opens - or can't you lot read ? !!!!

JB

The passing of years, the aging of parents and small but significant episodes. I guess I'm wrong about this film. I will reassess. I shall buy a rice steamer and work out the meaning of life.

Catherine

I'm with DL's comments. Beautiful performances, wonderful camera work and an achingly accurate portrayal of the poignancy of life. Perhaps if you're someone who isn't sensitised to the passing of time, the aging of parents, the maturing of children, this won't be for you. It's a series of moments, moods and small but significant episodes in ordinary people's lives.

Catherine

I'm with DL's comments. Beautiful performances, wonderful camera work and an achingly accurate portrayal of the poignancy of life. Perhaps if you're someone who isn't sensitised to the passing of time, the aging of parents, the maturing of children, this won't be for you. It's a series of moments, moods and small but significant episodes in ordinary people's lives.

JB

Please see my previous comments that I stand by. I do find it curious that this film seems to have split the audience entirely as far as these reviews go. People either love it or hate it. There seems to be no inbetween. No 'it was alrights'. Odd. Even though I hated the film, I would like to say that Alex Descas was the most interesting element in it. Clearly a fine actor. Still feel robbed of m'cash though. Still awaiting a cheque from Claire Denis.

naomi

outstandingly beautiful! subtle understated but totally genuine with the audience having to fill in what remains unsaid. Abig thank you to clair denis!

naomi

outstandingly beautiful! subtle understated but totally genuine with the audience having to fill in what remains unsaid. Abig thank you to clair denis!

JP

Possibly the most tedious film I have ever seen, it was slow obscure and self absorbed and seemed to have no point. The girl's expression seemed to be limited to an occasional unconvincing smile. The obscurity of the relationships wasn't artful but felt to me like lazy film making. However I would recommend it to trainspotters

JB

Wally Hammond needs to get out more. 5 stars Wally??? What the heck? This film is everything I hate about french film making at its worst. Melancholic, meandering, ponderous, pointless and DREARY DREARY DREARY DREARY DREARY. I will hesitate about Time Out's pick of the week in future. As far as I'm concerned Claire Denis owes me ten quid. No. Twenty. I paid for my girlfriend.

Julie Jones

Very boring. I usually love french films and the way they can show just a slice of life and make it somehow interesting and uplifting. But this is just dull, dull, dull. It has got great reviews but I don't understand why. Maybe because it's arty and a little pretentious and so people daren't admit that it's just a bit rubbish. Lots of stories seem to start and then go nowhere. Lots of rice is eaten. And then father and daughter go off on a road trip to visit grandma ( played by a well known but very bad german actress ) Pourquoi ? And eventually, who cares ? I saw this at the Gate in Notting Hill, and the best bit by far was the two minute short film, "The Hobbyist " that they showed before the main feature. See this online for free and skip the tedious french twaddle.

andrew

I don't understand: this film gets rave reviews and nobody's going. Last night at the Barbican's discounted Monday screening the room was almost empty! It's absolutely brilliant. Don't even read the review: go see it knowing nothing about the plot - like I did - and enjoy how gradually and subtly everything is revealed. There's no need to suspend any disbelief: the excellent direction and downplayed performances just suck you into the characters' emotions and the rhythm of their lives. Merci Claire Denis et tous les acteurs !

andrew

I don't understand: this film gets rave reviews and nobody's going. Last night at the Barbican's discounted Monday screening the room was almost empty! It's absolutely brilliant. Don't even read the review: go see it knowing nothing about the plot - like I did - and enjoy how gradually and subtly everything is revealed. There's no need to suspend any disbelief: the excellent direction and downplayed performances just suck you into the characters' emotions and the rhythm of their lives. Merci Claire Denis et tous les acteurs !