35 Rhums (35 Shots of Rum) Reviews
35 Shots Of Rum has a structure and pace where only the patient cinema goers and dedicated Denis fans will benefit from, however its innovation and unique method of storytelling is undoubtedly where the film truly delivers.
Lionel (Alex Descas) is a widower and lives with his daughter, Jo (Mati Diop). They have an extraordinarily close relationship where neither one of them have moved on to form any other relationship since the death of their mother/wife, other than the one they both share with each other. It's almost fly-on-the-wall stuff where you feel like a voyeur to a normal everyday running of a household where nothing much happens; Denis never puts scenes together that are perhaps obvious in a traditional sense. It moves tenderly, sways between love in both a family setting and a romantic one, but its always subtle and never heavy handed. It's this unorthodox style that Claire Denis has always approached (Beau Travail, Vendredi Soir), leaving some viewers either in awe of her or completely irritated by her. Maybe there's an argument for both? My thoughts of 35 Shots Of Rum is of a calming, moral and enchanting film. It's a film that presents a refreshing and introspective tale on family and relationships, from an angle devoid of the common and accepted approach we so often see in today's cinema.
1) It is a French modern day drama without being a typical "French" film meaning characters don't sit and randomly talk about philosophy and life and relationships.
2) It handles delicately a father-daughter relationship, something that is absolutely non existent in contemporary cinema. The culture today has very little time for older people and in turn, cinema has very little time for older characters as Guardian's Ann Bilson talked about recently. So it was refreshing to see a film about 4 principal characters, 2 of who belong to the older generation.
3) It is set in modern day France but has an all black cast and yet never even makes a glancing blow to make the point that "look I am making a film in France about black people.