Twentynine Palms (2003) by Bruno Dumont
When I watch movies I always look for things I can learn from. Why is it that this plot seems weak? Why dont I believe the acting here, the dialogue? How come this scene doesnt work etc. I was very surprised when I started watching this film because I have an anticipation that a Bruno Dumont film should and will flabbergast me. That he is smarter than me and will show me something that will open up a new world to me or make what I see around me clearer somehow. This is based on the film L'humanité from 1999, which is one of the best movies I have seen in the recent years. But starting watching this film I was like: "Huh? This is very weak.. " Hardly a plot line. A couple going on a drive, stopping along the way, stretching, hugging, having some sex etc. I also found the film "too pretty", that the shots seemed fetichizing for their own sake. Beautiful woman shaking her hair, perfect composition, perfect colours, perfect everything. This, along with a nearly non-exisiting plot becomes a little YAWN for me. But I continued watching nonetheless thinking there are lots of things to learn from it. One of the things to be learned is that great masters also make bad movies! :D This is one of the most encouraging thoughts I know of. Bad movies actually really really encourage me. Anyway, I continued watching and found myself being dragged more and more into the film, charmed by the two characters and their child-like emotions. Here are some screenshots that might make you want to watch the film. Shot on 35 mm it has that wonderful feel that even if it was shot in the 2000s it can make you believe it is the beginning of the 90s.
As the film continued it got better and better and better and in the end it is plainly amazing. So glad I got past the boring first part!
Fashionwise: Check out the mans glasses and hairdo and the wonderful shapes and fittings of their costumes.
When I watch movies, I also always google actors I like. To see if they went to acting school and what other things they have starred in. When googling the lead actress I found out that she suicided in 2011. She was the girlfriend of french director Leos Carax who fell in love with her after he saw her in the russian film Three Days directed by her first husband, Sharunas Bartas. She acted in some Claire Denis films, some of Leos Carax films and some Sharunas Bartas films. They all look pretty appealing, so that is my next endeavour; to watch films that she stars in. Trivia: She suicided just before the shooting of Holy Motors, so parts of the film concern Leos Carax trying to cope with the fact that his loved one just killed herself. She was only 44, and quite a talent. Pity for the world that we lost her.
Here is the trailer for the film: