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

Girl, 10, dies after being pulled from water…

A 10-year-old girl died after being pulled from the waters off Coney Island Beach in Brooklyn on Tuesday night, police said.

News

NY judge throws out lawsuit by Empire State…

A New York state judge has thrown out a lawsuit in which longtime investors in the Empire State Building claimed they were shortchanged out of hundreds of millions of dollars…

Local

Mysterious white flags appear over Brooklyn Bridge

Two white flags mysteriously appeared over the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday in place of the American flags that are a traditional fixture.

National

Judge sets January start for murder trial of…

By Elizabeth BarberBOSTON (Reuters) - Former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez will be tried in January for the murder of semi-professional football player Odin…

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

NFL

David Tyree hiring has gay rights advocates angry

Former Giants Super Bowl hero David Tyree will re-join the franchise as its new director of player development.

NFL

Ben McAdoo's new offense has Giants excited to…

Even Tom Coughlin feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

Tech

Learn Braille with these gloves

U.S. scientists have designed high-tech gloves to help users understand Braille in a matter of minutes.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.