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Twentynine Palms

Director: Bruno Dumont

FRANCE| 2003. ENGLISH AND FRENCH DIALOGUE. ENGLISH SUBTITLES. COLOUR. DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO. 119 MINUTES.


Bruno Dumont has quickly risen to the top ranks of international filmmakers on the basis of two stark and striking films, La Vie de Jesus and L’Humanite. These films eschewed urban settings in favour of the provincial backwaters of France, where an underlying sense of imminent violence contrasts with the physical beauty of the countryside. For Twentynine Palms, his remarkable third feature, Dumont has followed a number of illustrious European predecessors into the desert landscapes of America to produce a film of extraordinary power and great beauty.
Dumont’s two protagonists set out from Los Angeles and travel to the timeless grandeur of Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree National Park. David is a relaxed, nonchalant American, while his travelling companion Katia is prone to sudden bouts of depression and erratic behaviour. Neither speaks the other’s language, so they communicate through sexual encounters. As they argue and scuffle over innocuous incidents, their language painfully insufficient for what they want to say, Eros assumes an increasingly central role. But it is not long before growing frustrations start to co-mingle with the sexual ecstasy that acts as a palliative drug in their relationship. The film is steeped in the primal: whimpers, groans, cries and panting abound throughout the rich soundtrack; sand, rock, highway, sky and water dominate the visuals.

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