Camille Claudel 1915
Director: Bruno Dumont
Talent: Juliette Binoche, Jean-Luc Vincent, Emmanuel Kauffman
Release Date: 27th June 2014
Juliette Binoche plays the exiled sculptor Camille Claudel in Bruno Dumont’s speculative look at her later life of confinement in a French asylum. His camera prods and pokes at his subject with extreme close-ups and long-as-long-can-be takes in order to build a nuanced depiction of Claudel.
Early on in this claustrophobic film, Camille insists that she is well, but her surroundings and companions tell us otherwise. In one sequence she eats a boiled potato (which she has prepared herself, for fear of poisoning) away from the other patients. The camera watches Camille as she eats, pulling in close to her face. For a time all we hear is the wind and some chewing, but as the camera pulls closer we hear a disturbing vocalization somewhere between crying and laughing. The camera then cuts to reveal another patient, standing by Camille’s shoulder.
There is no safe-haven for Camille, or for the viewer. As the film progresses, this and many other sequences like it call into question the sanity that she so desperately clings to.
Words: Luke Maxwell