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Dancing with Light: The Cinematography of Agnès Godard

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
7:00 p.m. Nenette and Boni
Claire Denis (France, 1996)

(Nénette et Boni). Abandoned by their father and bereft of their mother who recently died, nineteen-year-old Boni (Grégoire Colin) and his younger sister Nénette (Alice Houri) are barely on speaking terms, with life or with each other. Boni, a pizza-maker in his better moments, has turned his mother’s Marseilles apartment into a space for sexual fantasy—in fine French film form, he lusts after the baker’s wife, buns and all, a woman whose good-natured sensuality is the polar opposite of his own. When Nénette runs away from boarding school, seven months pregnant, the siblings circle around each other like wary strays. As James Quandt put it, “Les enfants terribles (are) faced with the terrifying prospect of becoming les parents terribles.” Nénette and Boni anticipates Beau travail in its palette of blinding white sunlight and striking blues. It may be the Mediterranean, but as the song says, “tiny tears make up an ocean.”

—Judy Bloch

• Written by Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau. Photographed by Agnès Godard. With Grégoire Colin, Alice Houri, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Vincent Gallo. (103 mins, In French with English subtitles, Color, 35mm, From Strand Releasing)