35 Shots of Rum

It’s the subtlety in the human relationships that we often find in European films, it’s those moments that are rarely found in domestic US releases.  All the same, we are often left wondering what happened, did anything?  But, of course, we just have to find the layers. Such is the case in the French film “35 Shots of Rum,” a French art house number that has been noted by The Hollywood Reporter to be “at its unpretentious best.”

French writer/director Claire Denis (known for the film “The Intruder”) tells this subtle story about the loving relationship between a father and daughter living on the outskirts of Paris. Lionel (Alex Descas) is a quiet widower, realizing the impending departure of his beloved, 20-something daughter Josephine (Mati Diop) as she grows into independence.

Father and daughter have a warm relationship even though it is not in Lionel’s character to say or reveal very much about his life.  Soon things will change however, as the theme includes “nothing stays the same” and, in fact, since Lionel’s on-and-off girlfriend Gabrielle (Nicole Dogue) and their friend Noé (Grégoire Colin) live in the same building the four have created an easy bond.  A bond that, if not broken will become too stagnant. 

Lionel is finally knocked out of his reverie when his close friend René announces he is retiring, thus catapulting him into the realization that time marches on and his own daughter is moving ahead as she and Noé’s friendship have evolved into something romantic.

A delicate and deep balance of these four individuals and the dynamics each has on one another’s lives, the camera work tells the story as much as the dialogue in long shots of doors and hallways.

Indeed, unpretentious as we are allowed to see completely. 

Not Rated

In French with English Subtitles