I have to borrow on a legend.
It’s said that when the great Director Mike Nichols is approached for a compliment by the perpetrator of an artistic fiasco he has just witnessed, his standard comment is, “Well, you’ve done it again.”
Last night, I saw Claire Denis’ Bastards (Les Salauds) at the New York Film Festival and I can only comment, “Well, you’ve done it again.”Ms. Denis is by no means a linear thinker and is proud of it. It would seem that she shot a lot of scenes with good actors, then threw them into a barrel and pulled them out, haphazardly, to string together her film, which left me to often wonder, “What the f…?”
In this piece of s….sorry, story, unlikeable characters are brought together in a sordid thriller wherein anyone with a potential for our empathy is destroyed and only the most evil survive. Sound like fun?
Of course, what some, like myself consider pretentious, others consider artistic. I will say that there was copious applause at the film’s end. But, perhaps, it was, in some part, a survival reflex. I was extremely happy to see those credits pop up at the end. Or, was it the beginning? The middle? Did I care? I was just relieved the torture was over.
The only unique aspect....unless I've always been clueless...was Denis’ ghastly take on the concept of “corn-holing,” which drove some of the audience out of the theater.
I tried to sit through the Q&A after the screening, but it became so simpering and pedantic that I soon realized I had an appointment back on planet Earth and left.
I give Bastards a 1 out of 5 only because I liked the comfort of my seat in a balcony box.