Florence Loiret

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The Intruder Review


Weak
There are dozens of reviews of The Intruder online that will tell you exactly what it isn't: It isn't a conventional story, it isn't a narrative in any traditional sense of the word, and it isn't even about an intruder. What few people will actually come out and say is that it isn't really very good. It's yet another meandering piece of existentialism, signifying nothing except for what you're willing to project onto it. But director Claire Denis has built a name as an arthouse favorite based on a string of films like this, and no one's calling out the emperor.

You want this movie to be a piece about the loneliness of growing old? Sure, it can be that. You want it to be about redeeming yourself for a bad life before you die? It can be that too. It can even be a psychological mystery about spies, the black market for human organs, and illegitimate children. It's barely any of these things, but if you try real hard you can convince yourself that Denis has a point somewhere in this.

Continue reading: The Intruder Review

Friday Night Review


Excellent
The sun goes down, and the city lights of Paris slowly rise. The romantic melancholy of a girl's adventure story finds a haunting backdrop in Claire Denis's Friday Night. This follow-up to the ultraviolent vampire horror show Trouble Every Day feels like a contemporary fable, retaining the signature Denis touches of expressionistic images and aching sensuality. Sweet, shy Laure (Valérie Lemercier) is packing up the apartment on her final evening before moving in with her lover. Laure's the very portrait of ambivalence, a sharp twist on the male fear of commitment.

That Laure won't throw away her sexy red dress (saying, "I'll keep you," in one of her affectionate throwaway lines to household objects, clothing, and her beaten-up but friendly car) says she has some vitality in her yet, and hasn't quite finished exploring life's spontaneous opportunities. Going out for the night wearing a trés chic black dress, Laure gets stuck in a massive traffic jam, allowing regular Denis cinematographer Agnes Godard to rove between vehicles picking up details of Parisian life through rain-speckled car windows illuminated and obscured by neon, headlights, and shadows.

Continue reading: Friday Night Review

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