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.

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