Screened as part of NZIFF 2009

35 Shots of Rum 2008

35 rhums

Directed by Claire Denis

This subtle, intimate portrait of the easygoing bond between a young woman and her widower father (Alex Descas) is the latest from Claire Denis (Beau Travail). With Grégoire Colin. Music by Tindersticks.

France In French and German with English subtitles
100 minutes 35mm



Bruno Pesery


Claire Denis
Jean-Pol Fargeau


Agnès Godard


Guy Lecorne

Production designer

Arnaud de Moléron

Costume designer

Judy Shrewsbury


Martin Boissau
Christophe Winding
Dominique Hennequin




Alex Descas (Lionel)
Mati Diop (Joséphine)
Grégoire Colin (Noé)
Nicole Dogué (Gabrielle)
Ingrid Caven (aunt)
Julieth Mars Toussaint (René)
Jean-Christophe Folly (Ruben)
Adèle Ado (bar owner)


Venice, Toronto, Pusan 2008; Rotterdam, San Francisco 2009


Claire Denis' subtle, intimate portrait of father and adult daughter possesses the simple gravity of a classic. The striking Alex Descas is Lionel, a train driver apprehensive about imminent retirement. He lives with Jo, the 20-something daughter he has raised. The bonds of love and habit that make it so natural for these two to stay together are palpable in their every scene. We see too that each of them has an admirer in the apartment block where they live, in Jo's case Noé, played by Denis regular Grégoire Colin. The defining movement in the film is Jo's inevitable drift away from home, observed by Denis with tender admiration for the dignity of the aging man and the lovely seriousness of the young woman. But every sensation, every glance is gently weighted in this exquisitely observant film. The pivotal scene, in which father, daughter and potential partners take shelter in a neighbourhood bar, is breathtaking in its graceful, empathetic registration of criss-crossing emotion. — BG

“Magnificently directed, faultlessly performed, alert to the beauty and mystery of commonplace things... Her finest piece of work since 1999's superb Beau Travail... it's imbued with Denis' own, unmistakeable sensibility, the patient and watchful eye that distinguished earlier Paris-set masterpieces like I Can't Sleep and Friday Night... Her greatest achievement, though, is to make you feel connected – to this world, to these people. (It also suffers not at all by having, at its centre, the great Alex Descas, one of the most beautiful men in the world, and a grave, compelling screen presence.)” — Shane Danielsen, indieWIRE