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Trouble Every Day

(Claire Denis, France, 2001)


 


I was dying to see Denis’ Trouble Every Day, which turned out to be a letdown after the magnificent Beau travail (2000).

 

This is one of those films that exist for one, inspired scene, a single narrative image: the gruesome but utterly compelling sight of Béatrice Dalle savagely eating her anonymous bed companion at the point of orgasm, and loving it.

 

Sex and death, blood and sperm, vile bodies and bad medicine, intelligent homages to Eyes Without a Face (1959) and I Walked with A Zombie (1943), the Female Gothic reborn as Béatrice prowls the corridors and chafes at the bars of her suburban prison … It’s all there (almost in film-thesis fashion), and almost none of it works.

 

Gallo is awfully miscast (and his plot thread seems stalled for half the movie); the hour-long slow burn leading to Dalle’s divine orgy dissipates any tension; expository bits about the scientific basis for such modern-day vampirism and various convoluted backstories add little.

 

I never thought I would say something so reactionary, but Denis really needed a Script Editor on this one. However, the Tindersticks score (available on CD) is definitely a redeeming feature.

 

MORE Denis: White Material, Friday Night

© Adrian Martin March 2002


Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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