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Product Details

  • Actors: Maggie Cheung, Nick Nolte, Béatrice Dalle, Jeanne Balibar, Don McKellar
  • Directors: Olivier Assayas
  • Writers: Olivier Assayas
  • Producers: Aline Perry, Daniel Iron, Edouard Weil, Frédéric Sauvagnac, Jane Moore
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Palm Pictures / Umvd
  • DVD Release Date: July 18, 2006
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • ASIN: B000FGG72O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,387 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Clean" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Original soundtrack in English, French, and Cantonese
  • Interviews with director Olivier Assayas, actors Maggie Cheung and Nick Nolte, and musicians Tricky and Metric
  • US Theatrical Trailer
  • Previews
  • Weblinks

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Emily Wang (Maggie Cheung) is a woman who wrestles with her dream of becoming a singer, her fitness as a mother, and daily life without her partner Lee (James Johnston). Her past is riddled with drugs and regrets, the result of which left Lee dead in a desolate motel room in Hamilton, Ontario, and landed Emily with a six-month jail sentence. The only thing that she desires for the future is a loving relationship with her son Jay, who is being cared for by Lee’s parents, Albrecht (Nick Nolte) and Rosemary (Martha Henry). While Rosemary blames Emily for the death of Lee, Albrecht recognizes the importance of the bond between a mother and her son, and his faith sets the standard for the faith Emily must find in herself. CLEAN follows Emily to Hamilton, Paris, London and San Francisco and in three languages, as she battle for a place in a world reluctant to forget the woman she has been and unwilling to accept her as the woman she longs to be.

Amazon.com

After the uncharacteristically epic Les Destinées and surprisingly cynical Demonlover, Olivier Assayas got his groove back with the cautiously optimistic Clean. Granted, the globe-trotting tale gets off to a grim start, but the grace notes gradually begin to accumulate. Corkscrew-coiffed Emily (Hong Kong superstar Maggie Cheung) is the outspoken lover of struggling musician Lee (James Johnston, formerly of Brit band Gallon Drunk). She's also a heroin addict, just like her partner. When he dies from an overdose, she does time for possession, while his Canadian parents, Albrecht (Nick Nolte in a nicely-shaded performance) and Rosemary (Martha Henry), gain custody of son Jay (James Dennis). Upon release, Emily returns to France to find work, stay clean, and earn the right to reclaim her child. Except for Albrecht, no one believes she can pull it off. Worse yet, many hold her responsible for Lee's death. (The echoes of Courtney Love and Yoko Ono can't be coincidental.) A decade has passed since Assayas directed Cheung in the dazzling Irma Vep. Since that time, they married and divorced, but the professional relationship persists, culminating in a Best Actress award at Cannes for a performance that calls for dialogue in English, French, and Cantonese--even some singing. As suggested by the title, Clean is cool and somewhat detached, an effect reinforced by Éric Gautier's crisp cinematography and a soundtrack heavy on early Eno, but it sidesteps the histrionics frequently associated with the recovery film. Featuring Tricky and David Roback (Mazzy Star) as themselves. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Customer Reviews

The film's quiet resonance will stay with you--there is a haunting, lyrical quality to this picture rather than moments of great revelation.
K. Harris
It is the hope, the courage, and the love, (not to mention Maggie Cheung and Nick Nolte's top-notch performances,) that makes this movie one of my all-time favorites.
Chasmodai
He seems to not only look after Emily's young son, but he becomes an angel to his daughter-in-law who struggles to re-establish herself in the world.
Rebecca of Amazon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 21, 2006
Format: DVD
"Clean" is the second film that director Olivier Assayas wrote with actress Maggie Cheung in mind. When they first collaborated on 1996's "Irma Vepp", Cheung was a big Hong Kong movie star whom Assayas didn't know well. Now Cheung is Assayas' ex-wife (their divorce was finalized during filming), and "Clean" provides her an opportunity to create a more intimate portrait. The result is one of the most striking performances of 2004, for which Maggie Cheung won a Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival and a French Cesar nomination in 2005. Cinematographer Eric Gautier was likewise honored with a Cannes win and Cesar nomination. "Clean" is a French independent film but has a wonderful international quality -due to its diverse cast and locations- without sacrificing its clear sense of place in Canada and Paris, France. Assayas cast real musicians wherever he could, in keeping with docu-drama and neo-realist traditions of populating movies with authentic supporting players.

Lee (James Johnson) is a talented rock musician and songwriter whose career has fizzled in part due to a heroin habit. His junkie wife Emily (Maggie Cheung), an aspiring singer, is argumentative, unrealistic, and generally hated and blamed for Lee's demise by his friends. When Lee dies of an overdose, Emily is busted for heroin possession. When she gets out of prison, Lee's father Albrecht (Nick Nolte) is kind to Emily but asks that she not make any attempt to see her son Jay (James Dennis), whom Albrecht and his wife Rosemary (Martha Henry) have raised since Emily and Lee abandoned the boy on account of their itinerant, wasted lifestyle. In no position to take care of a child anyway, Emily returns to Paris, where she had a career and good contacts in the entertainment industry.
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Format: DVD
"Addict" films are a dimebag a dozen. Whether alcohol or drug related, portraying someone in need of a fix can be a great way to showcase your acting chops. These films tend to fall into two categories, however. Either the addict leads a desperate life to his/her ultimate demise or there is a revelatory moment where our character decides to reform! "Clean" adheres to these rules, but thwarts them at the same time. In an intriguingly straightforward and unsympathetic narrative, "Clean" presents the story of Emily Wang (played by the great Maggie Cheung). And while Emily's story may not cover new ground, her character is refreshingly believable and flawed. Emily is a mess and "Clean" never asks us to feel sorry for her. I, for one, appreciated the character ambiguity that allowed Cheung to flesh out a remarkably complex role.

Cheung is a former celebrity hoping to reignite the singing career of her husband while harboring her own entertainment aspirations. Their tempestuous relationship is plagued by failure in the music business and a dependency on drugs. Their son is all but forgotten and living with Cheung's in-laws in Canada (led by a restrained Nick Nolte). When tragedy strikes, Cheung's life is stripped away as she faces prison and the possibility of reform. Wanting to reestablish a relationship with her son, Cheung attempts to redefine her place and battles to get and stay clean.

Many "addict" films are fueled by powerful, but often over-the-top, performances. Cheung's portrayal, however, is remarkably understated and much more realistic due to its lack of big showstopping theatrics. This is just a real woman, complicated and not particularly likable, who is trying to put her life back on track.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Bernstein on July 18, 2006
Format: DVD
My review title is a little deceptive-Maggie Cheung is always at her best,even in films which aren't that good-she's made a phenomenal number of films(80 something)in a relatively short span of years and I've never seen her turn in a substandard performance-Clean is well-directed,has excellent cinematography(particularly the early scenes in Hamilton,Ontario),good location shooting and an interesting story that doesn't try to overreach itself by trying to be more than what it appears to be-the effects of irresponsible living on a number of lives-Nick Nolte turns in a terrific sensitive performance which is somewhat different from what he is generally known for(although he reprises a similar mood in The Beautiful Country) and the rest of the cast is competent and believable.Maggie Cheung may well be the most versatile actress in the world-she's played every imaginable role-as much as I admire her I wouldn't recommend that she should make any more films that involve her singing-no one can be talented at everything.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jenny J.J.I. VINE VOICE on November 12, 2006
Format: DVD
I came across this film the other day and found it rather intriguing. This is pretty much a simple story, a little overlong in places to the point that it does not lose pace or interest in the main characters plight. In here we have Maggie Cheung whom plays Emily Wang, a woman in Hamilton, Ontario, with a past of drug addiction and other life-ruining things. Following a raid, her son gets taken away from her and sent to live with his grandfather Albrecht (Nolte) in Vancouver, B.C. So, Maggie decides to restart her life in Paris. While visiting London, Albrecht takes the grandson to Paris to visit her, and then has to face a moral dilemma about whether or not keeping the boy from his mother is a good idea.

This is a poignant, and sometimes meandering study of one woman's uphill battle to sobriety, "Clean" is one of those movies that sneak up on you with a plot that continually puts the heroine in the flimsy position of not knowing if her own demons will give in to her will to survive or consume her.

Maggie Cheung gives a great performance as well as James Dennis, as her son, who probably has the strongest lines with the rejection to his mother. Nick Nolte performs an experienced nice man that believes in forgiveness, but he, actor, seems to be tired. Maggie is on-screen almost all the time except when scenes switch to London to focus on Albrecht, his mother, and Jay (and their anger towards Emily), and her performance is an absolutely moving tour-de-force. The camera clearly loves focusing on her alabaster face, deep eyes, and her low-pitched voice as she moves effortlessly from British English to Cantonese then to French. I didn't even know she spoke French and she speaks it very well.
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