Camille Claudel 1915

Out Now On-Demand

Juliette Binoche is famed French sculptress Claudel, institutionalised in an asylum at the turn of the 20th century by her younger brother. Picking up Claudel’s story in the year 1915, the film uses personal correspondence and medical records to detail her experiences - focusing on Claudel’s attempts to win her freedom over the course of a three day period.

Initially excited about her brother’s pending visit to the mental asylum, Claudel grows more heated in one-on-ones with both her doctor and sibling as she fights to defend her sanity amidst a growing sense of panic and despair.

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Directed by

Written by

Drama, True Story & Biography, World Cinema

95mins

Rating: M Adult themes

French with English subtitles

France

Official Site

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Aaron Yap

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One of the most divisive voices in European cinema of the past twenty years, French auteur Bruno Dumont’s work can be so alien in its rigid formalism that it even makes Michael Haneke’s most severe misanthropic hectoring seem like a casual stroll in the park. Marked by the po-faced remove of his direction, and consistent employment of non-professional actors, Dumont, whose closest antecedent is Robert Bresson, has never been commercially friendly, so the fact that his latest film, Camille Claudel, 1915, is receiving a theatrical run outside of festival screenings here is a rare occasion that’s cause enough for cinephiles to celebrate. That it’s his first film to star an internationally renowned name like Juliette Binoche is no doubt a contributing factor to this, but to assume that Dumont is making any concessions to the masses wouldn’t be accurate - Camille Claudel, 1915 is as ascetic and austere as anything he’s done, and definitely not for everyone.

Focusing on a brief period in the life of Claudel (Binoche), the gifted protégé of pioneering sculptor Auguste Rodin who was confined, for reasons unbeknownst to her, in a mental asylum in Southern France, Dumont removes dramatic signposts expected of traditional biopics, carving a minimalist narrative, in which she eagerly awaits a visit from her brother, from the monastic clockwork routine of her experience. Haggard, frumpy, and surrounded by real-life mentally handicapped patients who unnervingly underscore her isolation, Binoche is stripped of any star quality, producing a performance of piercing, soul-baring purity. A welcome cinematic detox completely unlike anything you’ll see in theatres this week.

Hollywood Reporter

press

Juliette Binoche’s portrayal of the ill-fated artist is a study of restraint peppered with brief outbursts of emotion -- a riveting performance in an imposing, at times off-putting micro-biopic.

Variety (UK)

press

A measured, moving account of a brief period in the later life of the troubled sculptress, could hardly be the work of anyone else, with its sparseness of technique and persistent spiritual curiosity.

Screen Daily (USA)

press

A mesmerisingly intense yet controlled lead by Juliette Binoche.

Time Out London

press

Conveying the intelligence, anxiety, anger and isolation of an artist abandoned by her family, unable to work and forced to live with women mostly far less capable even of surviving than herself, Binoche displays both eloquent expertise and an admirable control.

Dissolve (USA)

press

It seems like a departure, but soon turns into a Bruno Dumont film-and one of his most rigorous and powerful at that.

New York Times

press

Ms. Binoche's portrayal of Camille is one of the most wrenching performances she has given.
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Ted

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Binoche is Claudel .

This film is definitely not going to be everyone's cup of tea. Very little dialogue, no fancy camera work but director Bruno Dumont manages to make you fully share the experience the protagonist is going through and truly realise the hardship. Juliette Binoche is simply amazing, as expected.