Vendredi Soir (Claire Denis / France / 2002)

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Vendredi Soir (Claire Denis / France / 2002)

Postby A » Sat Oct 08, 2005 10:37 pm

Saw "Vendredi Soir" a few days ago, and it was the second film by Denis I have seen. The first one, "Chocolat" (1988) was also her debut, and while the film had profound moments of beauty, and the plot developed in a subtle mode, Denis has made huge progress during these 14 years, as far as I can judge by these two films. While the first one was still a somewhat coherent narrative structure, and wanted to tell a story through glances and gestures, "Vendredi Soir" succeeds at getting a story out of glances and gestures. The minimal dialogue used in "Chocolat" was still significant, although it was more important what wasn`t said, than what was. The silence between the characters helped to build a bridge and a connection between the protagonists, the white wife and the black servant. In "Vendredi Soir" this concept is taken further, as the words and the dialogue become almost transparent, having no meaning in itself, always revealing what is meant on a deeper level. The Silence doesn`t help to overcome social differences, but is the main tool of communication. Without words the body starts to express itself more directly, and the glances and gestures are the sensual devices to take in the world around us.
Denis has progressed from a poetic film to making poetry arise directly on the screen. "Vendredi Soir" is a sensual poem in which you get to taste and smell and feel the things you see on the screen, all achieved through totally cinematic devices.
The film begins with lots of different views of Paris at night, but a Paris we may know from our dreams, a town of bright windows and dark rooftops that seems to spring out of a fairy tale. It reminded me of Rene Clair`s "Over the roofs of paris" and Hitchcock`s "Rear Window" at the same time, making the viewer a participant and voyeur both at once. Like in reality we never only observe but are also observed. Object and subject as one. Throughout the film light plays an important role - soft light, harsh light, reflections on mirrors, windowpanes, while camerawoman Agnes Godard accentuates the changes through the constantly shifting employment of different film "stock". Though the film is shot on 35mm Godard makes it appear like she has shot everything with Digital equipment, giving the film a sometimes raw, sometimes sensual, but always poetic look.
The intention may have been to make everything appear hyper-real, a dream reality that is nevertheless firmly rooted in our present time (Paris in 2002), thus showing us the endless possibilities of the everyday world that surrounds us. A Big ugly city becomes through the power of Love (Art) a radiating, vibrant landscape filled with beauty.
The Story is simple. A woman about to move in with her boyfriend encounters another man and has a passive one-night stand. But the exceptional thing is that Denis makes us feel every moment of it, experience the emotions like the characters do. The Camera always stays close to the protagonists faces, moves along with their inner feelings, trembles and searches like they do, teasing and wishing like they do, finding and discovering like they do. It isn`t a character of its own, but becomes through the phenomenal montage and fast paced elliptical cutting the very space between our protagonists, registering what they register not in a way of showing but of doing, not how but when - the spaces of time opened up are always now.
The poetry of Denis can be compared to Jean Vigo, but her quality that separates hers from his, is that while Vigo hailed the powers of our imagination, showing our phantasies enriching reality, Denis totally rejects a division. The magical comes from the real, is reality itself, not a victory of imagination over mind, because the struggle has ended. Change your heart...
A
 


Re: Vendredi Soir (Claire Denis / France / 2002)

Postby trevor826 » Sun Oct 09, 2005 8:14 pm

A terrific film and probably my favourite so far from the few Claire Denis films I've seen. I can't think of another film that makes a traffic jam look so artistic and (excepting Weekend) so interesting. The majority of the film is based on sights and sounds, in fact the only thing missing is smell. Beautiful simple intimate story well filmed and well told.

Thanks for reminding me about Vendredi Soir A, after reading your comments I dug it out and watched it again.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Vendredi Soir (Claire Denis / France / 2002)

Postby A » Sun Oct 09, 2005 9:00 pm

Quote:after reading your comments I dug it out and watched it again
Wow, this may be the most gratifying reply a reviewer can wish for. I hope some others will follow in trevors footsteps

I definitely need to see her other films, as this one was such a satisfying experience. Maybe L`intrus, or Beau Travail...
A
 

Re: Vendredi Soir (Claire Denis / France / 2002)

Postby arsaib4 » Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:59 am

Good review, A. You're missing out on one of the best films of the 90's in Beau Travail. That's the film where Denis decided to let her poetic images become the language of her narratives, and she hasn't really looked back.

I consider Vendredi Soir a minor effort by her standards, but it certainly deserves to be seen. A couple of other great film from her are, Nnette et Boni and No Fear, No Die. Her 1994 effort I Can't Sleep is a personal favorite.
arsaib4
 

Re: Vendredi Soir (Claire Denis / France / 2002)

Postby trevor826 » Mon Oct 10, 2005 6:32 am

It's unbelievable that so far only three of her films have been released in the UK, "Trouble Every Day" and the afformentioned "Beau Travail" although L'Intrus is getting a DVD release in December.

From what I've heard about Claire Denis I'm hoping that "Vendredi Soir" is a minor effort, I'm certainly looking forward to seeing more.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Vendredi Soir (Claire Denis / France / 2002)

Postby A » Tue Oct 11, 2005 10:54 pm

Thanks for your recommendations. I`ll try to find some of her "older" films. I`ve also heard lots of great things about her, and after watching Vendredi Soir, I`m already convinced
A
 


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