Close Up

2 - 12 June 2022: Bastards


Claire Denis, 2013, 100 min
French with English subtitles

Claire Denis' [Bastards] is among her darkest, angriest and tautest to date, a disquieting film noir partially inspired by William Faulkner and the malevolent figure of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Pitched in shades of darkest night painted by master cinematographer Agnès Godard, Bastards transforms Paris into a rain-slicked, stygian shadow world whose unsettling mysteries are laconically revealed with masterful restraint, only gradually revealing its harrowing fable of incestuous sexual abuse, with power as the most pathological, vicious form of aphrodisiac. Called to land by the mysterious suicide of his brother-in-law and the savage sexual assault of his young niece, Denis regular Vincent Lindon returns as a taciturn sea captain whose silent distance from the crimes so close to his heart give the film a haunting and deeply compelling opacity, a depth of mystery and loneliness almost unmatched in Denis' cinema." – Haden Guest