7:30 PM, 19th August, 2014
Older film fans may recall the classic 80s film Camille Claudel (starring the wonderful French actress Isabelle Adjani), a biopic of the famous sculptor’s life. This film focuses on a much narrower time frame, at a point when Claudel has been imprisoned at a mental institution in the south of France and her brother Paul (Vincent) is preparing to visit her. Her sanity, however, is the least compromised of all the asylum’s inpatients and she keeps mostly to herself, occasionally irked by the breakdowns of the other patients.
I am not going to lie to you: this film is for the patient viewer. If you have the attention span of a goldfish, then hopefully you enjoyed Transformers last weekend. However, for the more discerning film fan, this is a wonderfully meditative film that draws most of its power from the emotions of the human face. And it’s all well and good then, that the director has employed one of the most expressive and subtle face actors working today, Juliette Binoche. From Three Colors: Blue to the famous The English Patient and the recent Certified Copy, Binoche has been able to tell a million stories in simple and brief rearrangements of her facial muscles, and once again she doesn’t disappoint here.
There is also the storyline of her brother’s hysterical religious convictions, but make no mistake – this film belongs to Binoche. A personal highlight for me at this year’s French Film Festival, this masterpiece shouldn’t be missed.