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35 Shots Of Rum

3.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Widely hailed as one of the best films of 2009, the latest from the renowned director of Beau Travail, Claire Denis' sublime 35 Shots of Rum is the moving story of a father and daughter whose close-knit, tender relationship is disrupted by a handsome young suitor. Sumptuously filmed and featuring an evocative score by the Tindersticks, 35 Shots of Rum casts a lovely spell unlike any other movie you've seen.

- Transfer from original HD source material
- Interview with Claire Denis (2009, 20 min.)
- Claire Denis in conversation with Judith Mayne at the Wexner Center for the Arts (2004, 71 min.)
- Production Stills Gallery
- Official Theatrical Trailer
- Essay by Rob White, Editor of Film Quarterly


"One of the ten best films of the year." --Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"A quietly blissful romance. See 35 Shots of Rum to remind yourself what movies are about." --Ty Burr, Boston Globe

"Dazzling and affecting. Don't miss this one." --Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Gregoire Colin, Alex Descas, Mati Diop
  • Directors: Claire Denis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Cinema Guild
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2010
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0036F76NK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,923 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Howard Schumann on January 24, 2010
Format: DVD
In French director Claire Denis' 35 Shots of Rum, the world becomes, in author Sharon Salzberg's phrase, "transparent and illuminated, as though lit from within". It is a film of infinite tenderness in which the characters lives are delicately interwoven to build a tapestry of interconnectedness that signals life's inevitable passages. Reminiscent of Hou Hsiao-hsien's Café Lumiére with its intimate depiction of city life and the coming and going of trains, 35 Shots of Rum pays homage to Yasujiro Ozu in its story of the relationship between Lionel (Alex Descas), a train conductor of African descent whose striking features convey a sense of stoic dignity and his student daughter Josephine (Mati Diop) who is eager to assert her independence.

Like the relationship of Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara in Ozu's films, the focus is on the mundane occurrences of everyday life, the quiet intimacies in which meaning is revealed only by implication. While the characters are black, their lives are comfortably middle class and the only suggestion of racial issues is a classroom scene where Jo talks about how "the global South" is indebted to the industrial north. Set to a lovely score by the British band "Tindersticks" and gloriously choreographed by cinematographer Agnes Godard, the film opens with a ten minute montage of the crisscrossing of trains of the RER, the system that connects Paris to its suburbs.

Interspersed are close-up shots of Josephine, Lionel, and his co-worker René (Julieth Mars Toussaint) whose immanent retirement signals a depressing change in his life.
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Format: DVD
Over this past decade I've had the privilege of adopting a new term when describing certain films; pure. Not very many films can achieve this specific title, because it takes something extra special to tap into that very human quality needed to display moments of such purity. This isn't to be confused with another term I enjoy bestowing upon deserving films, `organic', which is similar but not the same thing. No, this decade I can think of very few films that deserve to be defined as `pure'. `Lost in Translation' and `Once' instantly come to mind.

You can add '35 Rhums' to that list.

'35 Rhums' is not a film for everyone. As I can see from some reviews (here and on other sites as well), the nature of this film is not one that will appeal to everyone. It is slow and there doesn't seem to be a definite plot (since this is far more of an internal and emotional film than one needing any defined structure). I think too, this is such an exclusive theme that one kind of has to be a part of it to understand it fully. Now I have not seen the 1949 Asian film from which this film was inspired (Ozu's `Banshun' or `Late Spring') but I am intrigued now and will certainly attempt to get my hands on it. That film, as well as '35 Rhums', deals very particularly with the father/daughter dynamic.

In '35 Rhums' we are introduced (rather casually, as is the nature of this beautiful film) to Lionel, an aging train conductor who is a widower and currently residing with his daughter, Josephine. The film basically lays right there, allowing the audience to observe them as they interact and as situations within their lives move them to grow as individuals. Lionel needs to let go and allow his daughter to gain some independence.
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Format: DVD
We meet Lionel on a platform waiting for a train to come. Lionel is a quiet, stoic-looking middle aged man and also as we find out a train conductor who lives in the suburbs of Paris. He is a widower who lives with his daughter, Josephine, a young woman attending university. Their next door neighbor Gabrielle is Lionel's former lover and she still harbors feelings for Lionel. Josephine is in love with Noe, her childhood friend. These are all facts we discover as Claire Denis, the director of 35 Shots of Rum, invites us to join in the lives of her characters. I stress the fact that we, the viewers, are joining in their lives because there are no Hollywood introductions or pointless preambles used as guide posts to keep this story moving. As in life, events unfold and we are left to our own faculties to decipher what they mean.

This is a movie about transitions and endings. Lionel's colleague Rene retires from work to find that he has nothing else left to live for. He wishes he had died younger so he would not have to continue living a life without any meaning. Watching Rene go through this, Lionel himself begins to realize how little he has besides his daughter. She is every thing in his life and is now at the age where she has to start thinking about starting her own life. No one tells us this, least of all Lionel, who is a man of routines and follows them even in moments of tremendous grief. We learn this through stolen moments as when Josephine is ironing her father's shirt. He tells her he can iron the shirt himself -- he can take care of himself, she should worry about herself.
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