Claire Denis
Artificial Eye

To whom does the title of Claire Denis’ 11th film refer? Surely it cannot be Marco (Vincent Lindon), the big-hearted brother who throws in his job and sells everything he holds dear to assist his sister, Sandra (Julie Bataille), in her hour of need? Denis’ latest offering is littered with abusers and victims. The root cause of their collective woes appears to be Laporte (Michel Subor), a rich businessman who has apparently ruined Sandra’s life – her husband was driven to suicide, her daughter is being sexually molested. Thus he becomes the focus of Marco’s thirst for retribution.

Yet this meandering and (deliberately) elliptical tale encourages all manner of unsettling readings. One’s heart bleeds for Marco, the mariner turned landlubber detective, forever being propelled along a path to a dark and lonely revelation.

As for the women, Denis prefers to keep their agendas vague. Maybe she is suggesting that some victims deserve their fates – that they cannot, or should not, be helped. It is simply Marco’s downfall that he cares too much.

Tony Earnshaw