Mauvais Sang

Juliette Binoche covered in shaving cream

French neo-noir at its most stylish, Mauvais Sang (confusingly it also goes by the titles The Night Is Young and the more literally translated Bad Blood) was Leos Carax’s second feature, the enfant terrible of French cinema still only a youthful 26 in 1986 when the film was made. The majority of his cast are pretty young too. We’re seeing early outings for Denis Lavant (25), Juliette Binoche (22) and a very young Julie Delpy (she’s about 15 here, having debuted the year before for Jean-Luc Godard in Detective). If you read any plot precis it’ll tell you that the action is set in some version of the future, where a virus is … Read more

Both Sides of the Blade

Jean and Sara in the sea

Revered arthouse director Claire Denis starts Both Sides of the Blade with an almost subliminal reference to Jaws. A couple wade into the sea. The soundtrack growls ominously. But only for maybe half a second. Then it pivots spectacularly into something gooey, gentle and romantic. We see the faces of the couple. It’s Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon, looking ecstatically happy. They stare fondly into each other’s eyes. They touch and caress each other. They laugh. Later, in their room, they make love. Still later, back at their apartment in Paris, their holiday over, the first thing they do is make love again. But that growl. Something is lurking. We learn what it … Read more

Who You Think I Am

Juliette Binoche as Claire

One person stalks another person online in Who You Think I Am (Celle Que Vous Croyez). If it’s not quite as creepy as you might expect, it’s not quite as emotionally engaging as it might be either, which is deliberate. We’re held at arm’s length, while co-writer/director Safy Nebbou gets busy with the mechanics of a plot that reveals all towards the end, and then reveals all one more time. The plot seems quite straightforward. Claire (Juliette Binoche, great as ever) is a teacher of French literature who strikes up a relationship with much younger man Alex, a friend of an ex lover, on a social network we might as well call Facebook, … Read more


Robert Pattinson gets his haircut in Cosmopolis

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 17 September Occupy Wall Street starts, 2011 On this day in 2011, the Occupy Wall Street movement, unable to set up its protest against US financial institutions in its original two preferred locations, took over Zuccotti Park, New York. With its rallying cry “We are the 99 per cent,” it made reference to the growing disparity in income distribution in the US (back more or less to its levels around the time of the Wall Street Crash of 1929, in spite of more than 80 years of relative prosperity) and set off a wave of similar protests all over the world. … Read more

Hidden aka Caché


Everyone loves a form/content double whammy, when a film’s story and its method of telling correspond. It’s why Memento succeeds so well, for example, a tale about an amnesiac told in partial and unreliable flashback. How much craftier is Michael Haneke’s psychological thriller Hidden. Georges (Daniel Auteuil) and Anne (Juliette Binoche) are media professionals, members of the Parisian chattering classes, liberal right down in their DNA. What could people of such good intent have to do with the rising tide of Islamism, anti-westernism, terrorism? Why are they being blackmailed by an increasingly incriminating series of videotapes? Are they guilty of something, or innocent, as the film seems to proclaim? Haneke’s double whammy is … Read more