CANNES 2017: BRIGHT SUNSHINE IN (UN BEAU SOLEIL INTÉRIEUR) BY CLAIRE DENIS

This entry was posted on May 18th, 2017

By Mónica Delgado

Un beau soleil intérieur is Claire Denis’ first “comedy”, or at least a film with unseen touches of humor in her filmography. Juliette Binoche plays a mature painter who is involved in different and singular love affairs with a group of hysterical men and it’s desperate to find a partner. But this isn’t a paradigmatic hysteria, but one of fixations and runaways that make the lead character live a real tour de force of love: married man and millionaires, gallery artists, curators, actors, or simply her ex-husband. Every one of them played by emblematic actors of her own cinema or of French current cinema: Alex Descas, Xavier Beauvois, Philippe Katerine, Josiane Balasko and even Gerard Depardieu.

The surprise lies in the style that Denis gives to her film: Scenes that seem to be cut in a whimsical way, a narration of abrupt cuts and times, and an involuntary sense of humor, at least for Claire Denis, who talked about this in the Quinzaine de Realisateurs’ Q & A. Why was Denis making a rohmerian comedy, very much a-la-Truffaut? And the answer came quickly: that wasn’t the intention; it was the result of an ensemble work with Christine Angot, the screenwriter, whose purpose was to describe the oscillating process of a divorcee in search of a sincere love, of a “bright sunshine”.

Un Beau Soleil Intérieur seems to be a fragile, even superficial film, however Denis towers above that and achieves a sublime work about a drifting woman, with a brilliant and unique performance by Juliette Binoche, a sort of reverse Bettie Blue, twenty years after.

QUINZAINE DE REALISATEURS
Director: Claire Denis
Script: Christine Angot, Claire Denis
Cinematography: Agnès Godard
Sound: Jean Paul Muguel
Editing: Guy Lecorne
Music: Stuart Staples
France, 2017