302 Great Directors: Bruno Dumont

“If, as you say, it was dark then and there is light now, the light only comes from the darkness. The comedy is only the other side of the drama. Comedy comes from drama. I just realized these are different sides of the same thing. So I have no problem being in the same locations, with the same people, telling more or less the same story, but from the other side.”

Why This Director?
: Miserable French directors, yes please.

My Last Experience Was…: Camille Claudel 1915. It was good but not great.

What Did I Watch: X

Where Does He Fit: Twentynine Palms is uttered at the beginning as a location, before never getting mentioned again, and the film does that as well: it seems to be about a particular thing, but then it becomes another. The couple is on the rocks, barely speaking to one another but constantly fucking as a mean of forestalling the fact that everything is about to collapse, while going through beautiful Western landscapes that have odds sights like windmills or just a hotel pool. David is a photographer (played by one time actor David Wissak, who is a natural), his girlfriend is a Russian named Katia (played by the Lithuanian Yekaterina Golubeva, who died too young), and it ever so slowly emerges that they fall into standard stereotypes-he runs too hot and she runs too cold, the same song is always playing, learning to drive is dangerous. This is life on the road when everything your partner does is sort of irritating to you but you desperately want to love them, and there’s a disconnect due to language anyway, and when something happy happens you cannot hold on to it forever. It’s fine, but it’s not. And then the final act happens (some will say that it lasts half an hour, others a shorter duration), and, well, all I just said changes…and then it doesn’t, if you think on it. One of the best of the films watched for this.


Most Valuable Asset: The world is a quiet and sad place.
Most Excited For: All of them, frankly, but especially L’Humanite and Lil Quinquin. I could tell instantly that this was a case of “I need to save the good shit.”

Coming Up Next: The female parallel in Catherine Breillat.


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