Posted by: greercn | March 21, 2014

Les Salauds (Bastards)

Family secrets, hidden threats and painful reunions all are a part of Claire Denis’ compelling and visually-original revenge thriller.

Marco is a sea captain who comes home to help resolve a personal and financial mess for his sister.

Gradually, he is drawn into the lives and twisted arrangements of other people.

The timeline drifts backwards and forwards, in that marvelous and rather surreal trademark style of Denis.

I look forward to her films so much as they represent an entirely different point of view and an artistic camera style. Even when you are watching a difficult scene, there are still so many gorgeous touches that compel the eye to focus on varying objects and faces.

Her new film caused controversy when it was kept out of the mainstream Cannes competition last year and was placed in the “un certain regard” (a particular look) category of the festival.

Even by the unique standards set by Denis, this is a strange film.

Everyone at the Stratford East Picturehouse “Discover Tuesdays” screening enjoyed it and there were lots of conversations about what it all might mean, afterwards.

Vincent Lindon absolutely shines as Marco and Chiara Mastroianni brings extraordinary emotion to Raphaelle, Marco’s new neighbour.

Connections between individuals are drawn out gently and the twists and resolutions are genuinely shocking.

I could argue at length that the word “salaud” isn’t really translated as “bastard”, but I can’t think of a better, single-word title. In general – with a few exceptions – the English subtitles are just fine.

This is a great treat for fans of Denis, thrillers and film noir. Lindon’s utterly compelling presence and the distinctive style of Denis make this a movie that will linger in your mind.


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