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Friday, June 6, 2008

VENDREDI SOIR (2002)

Claire Denis’s pic is like a mordant pendant to Kieslowski’s DECALOGUE series; he'd have titled it A SHORT FILM ABOUT F...ING. A Paris transit strike leaves Valerie Lemercier stuck in traffic on her way to a dinner. Charitably picking up a semi-handsome pedestrian, they’re get nowhere fast . . . or do they? Through a series of elliptical cuts, snips of tiny details, flashes forward & back/actual & imagined, even a soupcon of magical realism, Denis creates an effective cocoon for a romantic night of passion. Vincent Lindon is cagey & carnal as a man who's perfectly happy to turn a city-wide shutdown into a sort of free-floating pick-up bar. But Denis curdles her concoction in the very last shot when Lemercier all but throws her beret in the air in a gesture of pure post-coital pleasure, and then joyously sprints home. The film effectively deconstructs into "Mary Tyler Moore Gets Laid."

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