Indie spotlight: ‘Camille Claudel, 1915′ and ‘Haunter’

Juliette Binoche (left) plays a sculptor locked up in an old, dingy psychiatric facility in "Camille Claudel, 1915." Credit: Kino
Juliette Binoche (left) plays a sculptor locked up in an old, dingy psychiatric facility in “Camille Claudel, 1915.”
Credit: Kino

‘Camille Claudel, 1915′
3 Globes
French filmmaker Bruno Dumont once specialized in ascetic, punishing movies that rubbed viewers in humanity’s worst. (His sophomore effort, “Humanité,” actually began with a lengthy close-up of a corpse’s vagina.) He’s cooled down a bit, and not coincidentally gotten even better. Although no “Hadewijch” – his 2009 look at a nun so devout she finds herself hobnobbing with jihadists – his latest does net him Juliette Binoche. The Oscar-winner huffs and grumbles up a storm as Claudel, the sculptor and graphic artist who was driven mad by jilting lover Rodin. Isabelle Adjani and Gerard Depardieu once starred in a tasteful three-hour version of her story, but Dumont only picks a portion of a year, soon after she had been carted off to a dingy and oppressive rural psychiatric hospital. There, she tries to allege her sanity while still claiming that Rodin, who at this point she hasn’t seen in 20 years, is trying to poison her food.

Dumont tends to work with non-pros, but he uses Binoche in part as an experiment, casting her alongside non-pros whose conditions are significantly worse than Camille’s. Much of the film dwells on how much she sticks out, with long takes dwelling on patients she finds alternately irritating and endearing. (In his questionable use of real-life “freaks,” Dumont isn’t all that different from Harmony Korine.) The director’s usual religious obsessions finally come to the forefront when Camille’s eerily confident brother Paul (Jean-Luc Vincent) – a poet and dramatist whose work is marked by its fervent Catholicism – briefly takes over the narrative, thus steering the focus to whether Camille’s condition is part of God’s will. It’s a film about entrapment, whether by an incompetent, unforgiving bureaucracy or something bigger.

‘Haunter’
2 Globes
Well, it certainly sounds nifty: The latest from Vincenzo Natali – a Canadian genre mixologist who gave us the strained but fun “Cube” and the strained but crazed “Splice” – is a ghost story that starts where something like “The Others” leaves off. Abigail Breslin plays Lisa, a teenager who’s dead. She knows that, and she knows that she’s living the same day – her final day – every day. The rest of her family, also killed by a demon (Stephen McHattie), does not. Their murderer wants to kill another family, and Lisa slowly builds up the power to thwart him. All the pieces are in place for another clever Natali entry. Only the script takes too long spinning in place, the mechanics of this world are half-defined and Breslin’s character remains underdeveloped. Without distraction, attention can drift to the poor, cheesy lo-fi effects, which look as shifty as they did in Natali’s “Cypher,” but without the relentlessly nutty plot twists that jerk us merrily around.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…