TROUBLE EVERY DAYClaire Denis
Of its few supporters, even they hesitate to use the word “masterpiece”. I am explicitly not a gore fan or ‘saw’-fetishist, or whatnot, but if we can see past the splatter-heart this films gives us on the surface, & find the heart still in-tact, still beating with a very real fearlessness, we can find it as the masterpiece it is.
At its core, the film is about man tortured by his own satisfactions, Vincent Gallo , with his trademark mumbling-technique (used in a character where it works), proves an exquisite actor throughout the film. His polar opposite, Beatrice Dalle , is a woman satisfied by her own malice, with no remorse, regardless of consequences. Psychopath trumps sociopath. The strangest, & most fascinating character, may be Alex Descas , who for reasons unknown, perhaps only for love, helps Beatrice Dalle; in a way pampers her like a spoiled child, quite literally cleaning up her messes.
Claire Denis was derided for this picture when it premiered. It is easy to see why. Sadly, critics are not people who are typically embracing of something tried-&-true changing course. When a well-respected artist presents something radically different its always met with confusion & haste. Stylistically, it is equivalent to her other work. Even in content, in its themes, it is similar. Denis films all have a common thread of what separates us, what makes us individual, & in that, the journeys we make to come together. The films derision came solely from critics’ inability to see past the superficial. A director, touted for her sense of beauty & magical realism, suddenly trying her hand at gore, at horror. For exploring another very real aspect of life. For exploring the gruesomeness of death. It was uncharacteristic, to be sure. But it was brave. It is a film about courage. About the courage to survive against ones own disease. The courage to make changes in our lives that seem all too impossible. Indeed, the courage to attempt the impossible.
For some reason I thought this film was about something else, but now I’m definitely intrigued. I thought Jeanne Deilman was a masterpiece.
On it’s surface, it’s a film about cannibalism.
Still my favorite Denis film by a long shot. I urge everybody to watch this.
Interesting. I’m not sure I’ve ever head that claim, Grey.
Care to elaborate as to why?
By that i mean, why you like it, or, more interestingly, why it’s by a long-shot? :)
I do love dissenting opinions. Are you expressly not a Denis fan?
J Ryan, wait, what does Jeanne Deilman have to do with this? (I have not seen it yet, is the answer obvious?)
NEH – Oh I’m very much a Denis fan! Forget the by-a-long-shot- expression – this film just happens to be my favorite amongst hers. Maybe because the story’s pretty much straight forward, and maybe because the film features three of my absolute favorite actors (Gallo, Dalle & Vessey).
I agree with Grey Daisies.
Trouble Every Day is Denis’ masterpiece, forget Beau Travail.
im a fan. i love the shit outta that movie.
i always thought the movie was a play on the phrase “loving someone to death”
and the hotel maid (the one who literally gets eaten out at by vincent gallo)…i have such a crush on her
You do too? She is so hot.
I like body horror and I generally like Denis’ films (with Beau Travail, Chocolat and Nenette et Boni being personal favorites) but I hated TROUBLE EVERY DAY. I thought it was dull, shallow and obvious.
Thank you, everyone, for your input.
Ari, what about it did you find obvious?
Obvious to me = cannibalism as metaphor for erotic obsession/sex. Granted, I’ve only seen it once and in theaters so my memory is hazy on it but I remember it being a particularly unpleasant experience.
I do own the soundtrack though. I love the Tindersticks. The title song is fantastic.
I would never reduce a Denis film to its themes, that’s one of the things that makes her a great filmmaker. And one of the things that’s a problem with her new movie, White Material, is how much it is dependent on its themes. I always thought Trouble Every Day sincerely jumped off of the genre-based idea of cannibalism as an analogy for sexual hunger.
I love Beatrice Dalle. And get terrified as well.
I felt the films ‘message’, so to speak, within that theme was to deny ones cannibalism, to exercise self-control as best we can at self-destructive forks in the road. It also felt it wasn’t a mere analogy of cannibal=sex, but rather that many human urges are animalistic & better left quelled.
That said, Ari, i greatly appreciate you admitting to the hazy memory of a single viewing. Over the years I’ve come to notice that sometimes my strongest initial reactions (often negative), after repeated viewings become complete 180s. Case-in-point: i was stupefied by Dogville, & Elephant, the first time I saw them, overwhelmed, angered even, yet the second time around I came to adore each.
Give her Trouble another chance, mayhaps?
This is the only film by Denis that I have disliked. Just found it dull. I admit to having a prejudice against Vincent Gallo who seems to give the exact same performance in every film he’s in. I just find him a very uninteresting actor.
I cannot fathom how anyone could slap a label
like “dull” on a film as transgressive as this.
I can understand the Gallo remark.
Though I hear he’s quite good in Tetro
Shane, Gallo’s character was greedy – he wanted to protect himself from himself – he is the selfish love.
Christelle, the hotel worker was developed beyond just a random victim – she had an intimate knowledge of Gallo; thus, was a threat to Gallo
June, Vessey’s character represents the societal love. Notice the teeth marks on Vessey’s arm: Gallo wanted to do to Vessey what he did to the hotel worker. Why didn’t he? There was a social constraint – a “wonderful marriage”.
Coré, Dalle’s character was the most direct and the least interesting – she was merely one of Gorgon sisters, Medusa. Dalle’s character represents destructive love.
Alex Descas was probably the source of the libido experiment/research gone wrong. Descas’s character represents possessive love.
His wife Coré’s only line in the film:
00:34:11,000 —> I don’t want to wait anymore, Léo. I want to die. → 00:34:16,000
Haha I love how Robert comes into this thread and drops some science, and then just pimps away.
Anyways, I just watched it. Great film. I only started getting into Denis in the last couple weeks, but now having seen 4 of her films I think I can safely say she is becoming one of my absolute favourite auteurs.
I don’t mean this to come off the wrong way but it’s slightly bizarre to me that someone can stumble on a filmmaker, watch four of their films in a few weeks and then declare them to be becoming one of their “absolute favourite auteurs”. At least give it a few months before making such a bold proclamation, Adam, or it might just seem like a passing infatuation or a fling!
Uh, Denis is good and in chronological order one can see her develop.
And yes, favs come and go…
I love this film. Haunting, poetic, beautiful and creepy. And the part where Vincent Gallo says “After grade school there were a lot of offers” is pretty damn funny. Also love the climactic cannilingus.
Is it available on DVD?
We did a podcast on Claire Denis last year and discussed this amazing film.
Check it out!
This movie definitely stayed with me for days afterward. I agree with some of the critics of Gallo here. His tortured look does fit pretty well here though and his dialogue is down to a minimum. Denis’ camera frames is some really effective tight (claustrophobic) shots. Notably the finale and Core’ attacking the housebreaking. I do have a minor criticism of how the housebreaker is brought into the film. Just a bit clumsy.
But I admire the hell out of Denis. She takes ridiculous risks with every film she does. I do like that there isn’t a clearcut favorite of hers. Everyone seems to have their favorite, with I Can’t Sleep and White Material being mine. The Intruder is up there as well.