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BOTH SIDES OF THE BLADE

Fire

Claire Denis | 2021 | 117 MINS
France | Subtitles
Preview:
Claire Denis’s latest film stars Juliette Binoche, Vincent Lindon and Grégoire Colin, who complete a turbulent romantic triangle in this intensely intimate examination of the rupturing force of a past love.

In Detail

Sara (Binoche) and Jean (Lindon) are ten years into a loving relationship, cohabiting in an airy apartment. She hosts a current affairs show on Radio France Internationale, while he’s been slow finding his feet after a decade in prison for an undisclosed crime.

But Jean is stable and supportive, even if he struggles to find the time and attention needed by his mother Nelly (beloved screen veteran Bulle Ogier) in the outer suburb of Vitry where he grew up. She has custody of Jean’s mixed-race son Marcus (Issa Perica) from a previous marriage. The 15-year-old is floundering at school, risking expulsion, and siphoning cash from Nelly’s bank card.

On her way into work one day, Sara experiences an emotional wallop when she sees her former partner François (Colin) on a motorcycle. They were living together when she first met François’ friend Jean, and the three have not been in contact since the relationships were reconfigured. Soon after that sighting, François approaches Jean, a former rugby player, about working with him as a talent scout at a new sports agency.

The sense of love dissolving, and lives thrown into chaos as a dormant past violently breaks through the surface is unexpectedly moving, all the more so because of the film’s rigorous rejection of sentimentality. Considering that it starts with images that toy knowingly with schmaltz, the heavy blow of the conclusion is quietly devastating. Tremendous!

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