Bastards | Chicago Reader

Bastards

French director Claire Denis (White Material, 35 Shots of Rum) favors a narrative style so oblique that even her biggest fans have trouble deciphering her films; I had to watch the beginning of this one three times before I decided I knew what was happening (and I was wrong). The story shifts back and forth between two families, one shattered by the daughter's vicious rape and the father's consequent suicide, the other harboring dark secrets about the assault. There's nothing wrong with making the viewer work a little harder than usual, but once you manage to put the pieces together, this turns out to be a rather familiar tale of duplicity and depravity among the power elite—like a Claude Chabrol mystery but with all the fun surgically removed. Vincent Lindon and Chiara Mastroianni star. In French with subtitles.

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