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Under the Skin: The Films of Claire Denis

Friday, April 1, 2011
8:50 p.m. Trouble Every Day
Claire Denis (France, 2001)

A portrait of devouring passion, Trouble Every Day is Denis’s most troubling work—two audience members reportedly fainted at its Cannes premiere—but its potency derives less from its explicit images than from the sincerity with which it pursues its carnal conceit. Léo (Alex Descas), a doctor, is both caregiver and captor to his wife Coré (Béatrice Dalle, aptly nicknamed La Grande Bouche), who suffers from a strange and deadly sexual affliction. Meanwhile, in a Parisian honeymoon suite, American scientist Shane (Vincent Gallo) keeps his virginal bride (Tricia Vessey) at bay as he attempts to manage his own dangerous appetites. Connections between the two couples slowly emerge, pointing back in time toward an unspeakable experiment in a jungle in Guyana. Denis filters the tropes of vampire films and mad science through her own oblique and ultimately romantic point of view in what she stubbornly called “a naive and innocent film.”

—Juliet Clark

• Written by Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau. Photographed by Agnès Godard. With Vincent Gallo, Tricia Vessey, Béatrice Dalle, Alex Descas. (101 mins, In English and French with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Wild Bunch)