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Camille Claudel 1915

Juliette Binoche and writer-director Bruno Dumont join forces for this searching portrait of the troubled sculptor and her poet brother.

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  • Director-Screenwriter Bruno Dumont
  • Producers Jean Bréhat, Rachid Bouchareb, Muriel Merlin
  • With Juliette Binoche, Jean-Luc Vincent, Emmanuel Kauffman, Marion Keller, Robert Leroy
  • France 2013
  • 97 mins
  • UK distribution Soda Pictures

While every shot tells you it’s unmistakeably a Bruno Dumont film, Camille Claudel 1915 marks an audacious departure for this most uncompromising auteur. A portrait rather than a biopic – and miles from the romantic fervour of the 1988 Isabelle Adjani-starrer of (nearly) the same name – this Camille Claudel depicts the troubled sculptor (Juliette Binoche) as an inmate of an asylum near Avignon. Camille lives a seemingly uneventful life among the other inhabitants of the institution – played by real-life mental patients – with whom she enjoys a quietly tender intimacy. Then she receives a visit from her brother, visionary Catholic poet Paul Claudel. Their relationship and Camille’s internment form the basis of a challenging inquiry into madness, the clinical system and the nature of religious and artistic inspiration. With the austerity you expect from Dumont, the film nevertheless carries an intense emotional charge and Binoche’s mesmerising, nerves-bared performance is one of her finest ever.

Jonathan Romney

Read the Time Out review.

Director biography

Bruno Dumont directed his first feature film at the age of 38: La vie de Jésus (1996), shot in Bailleul, where he was born. This film earned him immediate acclaim: it was selected for the Director’s Fortnight, winning a Caméra d’Or Special Mention. Creating demanding, singular and raw works of cinema, Bruno Dumont returned to Cannes in 1999, in Competition, with L’Humanité. He was awarded the Grand Prix and two of the film’s non-professional actors took Best Performance prizes. Bruno moved away from northern France to shoot Twenty-nine Palms in the Californian desert, a road movie that was selected for the Venice Mostra in 2003. In 2006, Flandres, a harsh film about the devastation caused by war, received the Grand Prix at the Festival de Cannes.

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