De rouille et d’os (Rust and Bone)
Winter 2013 Features series
April 7, 2013 at 7:00pm
April 7, 2013 at 4:00pm
Directed by Jacques Audiard
Screenplay by Thomas Bidegain and Jacques Audiard
Based on the short story by Craig Davidson
Starring Armand Verdure, Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard
Rated NR ·
Belgium and France
and French with English subtitles
De rouille et d’os (Rust and Bone)
French auteur Jacques Audiard’s highly anticipated follow-up to the Cannes Grand Prix-winning prison drama A Prophet, Rust and Bone is a raw, unflinching, against-all-odds love story that has set box-office records in France.
Broke, homeless, and drifting, Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts, Bullhead) scrambles to make a living for himself and his young son: he steals food, sleeps on the streets, and finally relocates to the French Riviera to live with his estranged sister in her cramped apartment. All too happy to let his sister watch the boy, Ali focuses on his burgeoning career as a back-alley boxer, dreaming of making it big as a mixed martial artist. Taking work as a nightclub bouncer, he crosses paths with Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard,Midnight in Paris, Inception, La vie en rose), who works as a killer-whale trainer at an amusement park, commanding the beasts with an ease absent from her interpersonal relations. After Stéphanie suffers a terrible accident, the unlikely pair falls into a tender, tentative courtship.
Audiard constructs this character study with masterful precision, blending Dardennes-style naturalism with dreamily impressionistic visions and tense, staccato cutting. Physicality is at the core of the film, and he captures visceral images with unflinching matter-of-factness. His two leads, meanwhile, generate an irresistible chemistry in their strange romance: Schoenaerts is that rare combination of imposing presence and vulnerability, while Cotillard gives a bold performance, emotionally raw and achingly soulful. Echoing the film’s vivid contrast of brutality and tenderness, Alexandre Desplat’s powerful score is interspersed with a surprising selection of pop songs; Katy Perry’s “Firework” provides one of the film’s most moving and unexpected moments. An unconventional and deeply felt study of human frailty, Rust and Bone is Audiard’s most assured cinematic turn to date.
“What could have been simply bizarre, sentimental or contrived here becomes an utterly absorbing love story; Rust and Bone is a tale of a miraculous friendship, which evolves into an enthralling and moving romance. Its candour and force are matched by the commitment and intelligence of its two leading players. These factors, linked with the glowing sunlit images captured by cinematographer Stéphane Fontaine and emotion-grabbing music from Alexandre Desplat make for a powerful spectacle. It is a passionate and moving love story which surges out of the screen like a flood tide.” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian)
“Rust and Bone is essential. It’s life and death. It throws the grit of existence in your face and while you reel at our insubstantiality and balk at our crudity as human beings, it shows you that love is the only transcendent force we possess. What separates man from beast. There is no doubt it will polarize. There is nothing commercial here apart from the pulling power of Marion Cotillard. Cinematographically it is an expressionistic essay; intellectually, a two-hour conversation with its filmmaker. And physically it is a kick in the teeth, a depiction of poverty, sex and violence which crosses most known codes of acceptability. It is terribly intense, and French … this film is so good, it stands alone. This is not half-baked ennui — whatever anyone else thinks about it.” (Lorién Haynes, Movieline)