Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fairytale for Adults

Vendredi Soir/Friday Night (2002) - Denis
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With tinkling orchestral score and a couple of unobtrusive and brief CG effects, Claire Denis creates fairy tale for grownups with Vendredi Soir. Without much dialog, it tells a one-night-stand taking place amid of a transit strike in Paris. Laure (Valérie Lemercier) is first seen in her flat, packing up all her belongings in boxes. She is moving in with her boyfriend the next day. She is on her way to her friend's house for dinner. But with the strike, the traffic jam is severer than the one in Week End. Laure picks up a handsome stranger Jean (Vincent Lindon) with the urging of radio broadcaster's plea to carpool. The attraction between the two is palpable.

Denis makes the most of the City of Lights through the car window. Agnes Godard's fluid camera captures pulsating street and intimacy of the confined space. With ordinary looking Lemercier is our guide to the fairytale, Denis suggests that this particular night, anything is possible. Laure asks a young man who happens to be Gregoire Colin if he needs a ride. He politely declines. The camera focuses on a lovely blond in a car for a while. But Jean chooses Laure's car. Even after their hook up, there are sequences suggesting other possible scenarios. Laure's personal problems or insecurities are never discussed, nor Jean's background. Vendredi Soir treads on the subject of one-night-stands very lightly with maturity, avoiding all the pitfalls of crass Hollywood romance or tortured realistic drama. I couldn't get into the film when I first attempted watching it. I suppose you have to be in a certain mood for it.

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