The Intruder

The Intruder

Directed by: Claire Denis

Monday, November 15, 2010

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“A decisive breakthrough—[Denis's] most poetic and primal film to date, as thrilling as it is initially baffling…

“For what is essentially an adaptation of a metaphor, THE INTRUDER is almost shockingly concrete. Its intractable physicality owes much to Michel Subor, a man’s-man presence in the lead role, and the imposing landscapes in which he’s often framed. A weathered re- cluse, Subor’s Louis lives with his beloved huskies in a mountain cabin near the Franco- Swiss border. Peripheral characters are glimpsed: an estranged son (Grégoire Colin), a dog breeder (Béatrice Dalle), a pharmacist fuck buddy (Bambou). At one point, Louis arranges for a heart transplant, negotiating with a black-market trader (Katia Golubeva), who later assumes the role of his stalking conscience–cum–angel of death.

“Nancy terms his transplant a ‘metaphysical adventure’—and the phrase perfectly describes Denis’s film as well. With a new ticker, Louis escapes to the other side of the world, in search of a new life—or a place to die. The Intruderimagines the post-transplant condition as a simultaneous rebirth and afterlife. As the languorous last rites for a man slowly expiring (or already dead), THE INTRUDER at times suggests Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man; echoing Neil Young’s ominous score, Tindersticks frontman Stuart Staples fashions a hypnotic guitar loop on the soundtrack, an invitation to submit to the film’s churning eddies.

“Louis has a shady past, lots of money, and blood on his hands. Stopping off in Geneva and Pusan, he ends up in Tahiti, looking for a son he says he once fathered; in a discordantly light and funny sequence, the indulgent islanders hold an audition for suitable candidates. There’s a coldness—one might say heartlessness—to Louis’s quest, reducible as it is to a series of monetary transactions. He buys a new vital organ, a new ship, and even a new son (though he can’t quite shake off the old one)…

“Cinematographer Agnés Godard ensures that almost every image leaves a retinal imprint, even more so the less explicable ones: a heart palpitating in the snow, a sunbathing Louis spooning with his dogs, an infant in a sling beaming up at his father, rainbow streamers billowing off a newly christened ship, two men in knee-deep water hoisting a mattress ashore, a cloth-covered coffin on a forklift. In a shot that lasts nearly two minutes (and feels longer), we see the immense ocean from a bobbing ship deck. The finale, as orgasmic as Beau Travail‘s Eurodisco exclamation, is a delirious blur of motion, Dalle and her huskies sledding into the snowy wilds. This mysterious object may be Denis’s most gorgeous film (which is saying something), but more than that, it’s a fearless filmmaker’s boldest experiment yet, a direct line from her unconscious to yours.” – Dennis Lim, Village Voice

NR, 130 Minutes, In French with English subtitles
France, 2004




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