A large number of grey-haired film buffs thronged Sulochana braving the chilly weather on the second day of the Bengaluru International Film Festival, a befitting tribute to the 100-minute French movie 35 Shots of Rhum directed by Claire Denis.
The film aesthetically discusses the subtle feelings of a loving father and his caring daughter which many viewers in the theatre could easily connect with. At a time when familial relations are experiencing a crisis of sort in terms of being able to connect with each other, the film attempts to probe the complex relationships in the changing times. The film was well-received by critics in the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival. Lionel (Alex Descas), a widower, who drives trains in metropolitan Paris, lives in an illusion that resembles an endless railway track.
His life goes on sans any dramatic changes. When his colleague Ren asks him what makes him sail through the “dark edges” of the railway track of his mundane life, his reply gives a peep into the warm and caring relationship he has with his daughter Josephine (Mati Diop). He shares a special bond with her though he lives in the good memories of his wife. They live in an apartment on the suburbs of the city. Noe (Gregoire Colin), a moody young man, has feelings for his jogging friend Josephine. Lionel’s neighbour Gabrielle’s platonic love doesn’t cut ice with the former who truly devotes his life to his daughter.
At a retirement function of his colleague, he realises it’s time to give wings to his daughter’s life. The death of his colleague helps him see the world with fresh perspectives, and he changes. In the end, Josephine weds Noe and Lionel downs the customary 35 shots of rum, a feat. He says, “These things happen once in life,” and he begins another life of inevitable loneliness, leaving the viewers pondering over the real meaning of life.
The Verdict: A loving take on the relationship shared by a father and daughter.