21 January 2011 | bob998
TFO is putting on a Claire Denis retrospective, which comprises Chocolat, 35 rhums, L'intrus and four others. This is therefore a rare opportunity to survey her work over her career. While I admire Beau travail enormously, and found Vendredi soir very appealing, I must say that her films frustrate me more than they enlighten or entertain. Her stripping away of the things she considers inessential always struck me as arbitrary and untrue to the spirit of cinema. I always want more when I watch, say, Chocolat--more dialog, more examination of the characters's back stories.
Nenette et Boni is about average for Denis: lots of extreme close-ups (I really didn't need so many of Colin's back and shoulders), cursory development of characters (we never get a really good grasp of why the kids hate their father), and poor use of dialog. There is a scene between Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi as the friendly baker's wife and Colin who is infatuated with her that goes nowhere at all. Nenette et Boni has much more dialog than usual for Denis, and it's not productive.
Happily, there are the actors. Gregoire Colin, Alex Descas and Alice Houri are part of Denis's repertory players and they do fine. Jacques Nolot as the hapless father is sometimes very touching.