35 Shots of Rum

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35 Shots of Rum
35 Rhums.jpg
Theatrical film poster
Directed by Claire Denis
Produced by Bruno Pésery
Written by Claire Denis
Starring Mati Diop
Alex Descas
Grégoire Colin
Nicole Dogue
Music by Tindersticks
Cinematography Agnes Godard
Distributed by Wild Bunch Distribution, The Cinema Guild (U.S. home video)
Release date(s) September 5, 2008 (2008-09-05) (TIFF)
February 18, 2009 (2009-02-18) (France)
March 5, 2009 (2009-03-05)
(Germany)
Running time 100 minutes
Country France
Germany
Language French
German
Budget €3.6 million

35 Shots of Rum (French: 35 Rhums) is a 2008 film, directed by Claire Denis, the French filmmaker. It made its North American premiere at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival,[1] and was shown outside of competition at the Venice Film Festival.[2] It was later released to limited theaters in 2009. Claire Denis was in part inspired by Yasujirō Ozu's Late Spring.[3]

Synopsis[edit]

Lionel, a widower who drives RER trains in metropolitan Paris, has raised his daughter Josephine alone for many years. They have always shared a special bond and live a secure and contented life somewhat isolated from others, in an apartment building in a suburb of Paris. Josephine, an anthropology student, is now grown and become a young woman, but she remains deeply devoted to her father.

They have developed a loose family with other residents of the building: Gabrielle, a cab driver and another neighbor, who once had a love affair with Lionel; and Noé, a moody young man who lives with his cat and has feelings for Josephine. Noé leads a disorganized life and goes abroad often. Gabrielle appears to have feelings for Lionel and motherly feelings towards Josephine. Both father and daughter are ambivalent toward more than a casual friendship with anyone outside their special relationship.

While attending the retirement party for a colleague and friend, Lionel declines to try the customary feat of downing 35 shots of rum. His colleague appears to be lost without his job, and Lionel realizes that time is moving on. He (Lionel) must find meaning and security in things other than his present life, lest he end up the same way. During an outing with Gabrielle and Noé, their car breaks down and the four friends take refuge in a closed bar. Noé shows his feelings for Josephine, and Lionel realizes that she must eventually leave him. He knows that she needs to live her own life independent of him.

When Lionel's former colleague commits suicide on the RER tracks, Lionel has to stop his train when he comes across the body.

In the end, Josephine weds a nervous but happy Noé. At the party, Lionel successfully downs 35 shots of rum in celebration of the occasion. It is not clear whether he does so in joy or in sadness. He returns home to live alone.

Reception[edit]

35 Shots of Rum, described as "an intimate family study",[2] has been very well received by critics. It premiered in North America at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008[4] and was shown outside the competition at Venice before being released for general distribution.[2] The review aggregator website Metacritic gave it a score of 96,[5] (making it the second-best reviewed film of the year[6]), with Rotten Tomatoes rating it 94% out of 100.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dumais, Manon (September 10, 2009). "Sur la route de Toronto". voir.ca (in French). Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c Zacharek, Stephanie (September 5, 2008). "Toronto Film Festival". salon.com. Retrieved September 13, 2009. 
  3. ^ Claire Denis interview Tout arrive on France Culture February 18, 2009
  4. ^ a b "35 Shots of Rum Movie Review". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on October 21, 2009. Retrieved September 18, 2009. 
  5. ^ "35 Shots of Rum". Metacritic. Archived from the original on October 19, 2009. Retrieved September 18, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Movie Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on October 4, 2009. Retrieved October 13, 2009. 

External links[edit]