This calls for a drink

20
Sep
2009

My friend Jonathan (and his friend Derek) and I went to see an alternative French film yesterday called “35 Shots of Rum“, directed by Claire Denis. The film tells the story of the modest disintegration of a formerly static community of four people in a housing project on the outskirts of Paris. One of the most wonderful things about this film is its portrayal of minority community in France. None of the main characters are white, although the history of colonialism weighs heavy over the entire picture, even if it is always subtext and in the background. The film manages to be somehow about that history and completely on the side of it at the same time, because it is really about these characters and their emotional attachments to and longings for each other, whatever their particular context. And these are some really wonderful character studies, of a father, daughter and their sometimes too strong relationship with each other, and two neighbors that want to involve themselves with them and be a part of that bond. Ultimately the film is a lovely, slow paced meditation that invites us to melancholy over the knowledge (hardly surprising) that nothing is truly static. We make temporary stability in our lives, but that stability is illusory and elusive, and as people grow and change and move on, life continues.