35 Shots of Rum
Time Out says
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.
Cast and crew