Rust and Bone
De rouille et d’os
The latest film from Jacques Audiard (A Prophet) is a moving and poetic love story featuring great performances from Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts.
Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.
- Director Jacques Audiard
- Producer Jacques Audiard, Martine Cassinelli, Pascal Caucheteux
- Screenwriter Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain
- With Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Armand Verdure
- France-Belgium 2012
- 120 mins
- UK distribution STUDIOCANAL
In A Prophet, Jacques Audiard consolidated his reputation as one of Europe’s boldest and most compelling storytellers. In his very different follow-up, the writer-director reminds us that he’s also a master of emotional intensity. Based on a set of stories by Canadian writer Craig Davidson, Rust and Bone is about an unlikely relationship taking root under extreme conditions. Ali is an impoverished muscleman seeking a home for himself and his five-year-old son Sam. Working as a bouncer in a Côte d’Azur nightclub, he encounters Stephanie, who trains killer whales in the local aqua park. Their two lives are dramatically fused together after a horrific work accident (handled with sublime understatement), which leaves Stephanie mutilated and forced to reinvent her life. That such potentially lurid material is explored with subtlety and emotional complexity is tribute not only to Audiard, but to his extraordinary leads. Marion Cotillard is mesmerising in arguably her most challenging role yet, while up-and-comer Schoenaerts impresses mightily as an apparent lunk suddenly forced to look for his hidden resources. Rust and Bone is as punchy and abrasive as its title suggests – but intensely moving and surprisingly poetic too.
There is something gripping about Craig Davidson’s short story collection Rust and Bone, a depiction of a dodgy, modern world in which individual lives and simple destinies are blown out of all proportion by drama and accident. They offer a vision of the United States as a rational universe in which the physical needs to fight to find its place and to escape what fate has in store for it. Ali and Stephanie, our two characters, do not appear in the short stories, and Craig Davidson’s collection already seems to belong to the prehistory of the project, but the power and brutality of the tale, our desire to use drama, indeed melodrama, to magnify their characters all have their immediate source in those stories. From the very beginning of our work adapting it, we were focused on a kind of cinematography that, for want of a better word, we called ‘expressionist’. We wanted the power of stark, brutal and contrasting images in order to further the melodrama: the aesthetics of the Great Depression, of county-fair films whose bizarre visual work sublimates the dark reality of a world in which God ‘vomits the lukewarm’. It is that kind of aesthetic that constantly guided us as we worked on the screenplay. It sustains a love story that is the true hero of the film. It shows the world through the eyes of a confused child. It underscores the nobility of our characters in a world made violent by economic disaster. And it respects Ali and Stephanie’s stubborn attempts to escape their condition.
Jacques Audiard & Thomas Bidegain
Born in Paris in 1952 into a filmmaking background (his father Michel was a popular screenwriter and director, and his uncle a producer), he initially turned his back on the business and sought to become a teacher, but dropped out of his literature and philosophy studies at the Sorbonne. He then worked as an assistant editor on several movies (such as Polanski’s The Tenant) while also working in the theatre, especially as an adapter. In the 80s he contributed to the screenplays of such successful movies as Mortelle Randonnée (1983), Réveillon chez Bob (1984), Saxo (1987), Fréquence meurtre (1988) and Grosse Fatigue (1994), building a reputation for his facility with the thriller genre. In 1994 he made his own first feature, the sombre road movie Regarde les hommes tomber, which won three Césars, including Best New Director. A Self-Made Hero won him a Best Screenplay award at Cannes; while his remake of James Toback’s Fingers, The Beat That My Heart Skipped, confirmed him as a new master of the polar.
1994 Regarde les hommes tomber (See How They Fall)
1996 Un héros très discret (A Self-Made Hero)
1998 Norme française [doc s]
2001 Sur mes lèvres (Read My Lips)
2005 De battre mon cœur s’est arrêté (The Beat That My Heart Skipped)
2009 Un prophète (A Prophet)
2012 De rouille et d’os (Rust and Bone)