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


Alexia draped across a car

How to approach Titane, Julia Ducournau’s follow-up to her bold debut Raw, without entering spoiler territory? It’s not so much a story as an exercise in shock reveals, of inappropriateness and transgression, delivered in the sort of cine-literate style that gets festival juries salivating. It won the Palme D’Or at Cannes. What can be said is that it starts off soberly enough, with a man driving with his daughter in the back of the car. Alexia is humming loudly, to Dad’s irritation. She makes things worse by kicking the back of his seat. Then she unhooks her seatbelt, causing him to swivel round from the front and… disaster. Alexia winds up in hospital, … Read more