Trouble Every Day (France 2000 - 101 min.). Directed by Claire Denis, written by Denis and Jean-Pol Fargeau.
"The ability to love. The inability to love... The hunger to love"
Shane Brown (Vincent Gallo) and his new wife June (Tricia Vessey) are travelling to Paris on what appears to be their honeymoon.
Meanwhile Leo (Alex Descas) is desperately searching for his wife Core (Beatrice Dalle) - when he finds her he incarcerates her in one room of the heavily fortified family home.
Elsewhere Christelle (Florence Loiret) goes about the everyday mundanity of her life as a chambermaid at the hotel where Gallo and Vessey will shortly be staying.
The story (such as it is) revolves around the way in which these five character's lives come to intertwine and revolve around each other and the ultimately destructive effect that this has on each of their lives.
While the story is slight and faintly preposterous (there's some pseudo-scientific explanation for everything at the mid-point that left me more baffled than before) the reasons to watch and enjoy this film are in the skilled direction, the haunting sense of impending disaster and the visually impressive photography of Agnes Godard.
The film moves at an extremely leisurely pace between it's set pieces, but this creates a more effective shock when the flash points and moments of extreme violence occur.
Denis created a mood piece around a slight and preposterous central concept - filled with shadows, nightscapes and the juxtaposition of the drab and the extraordinary.
A film that's going to disappoint the horror film attracted by the hyper-gory DVD sleeve or it's reputation and which was never going to find a mainstream audience of any kind; it's success is as a piece of pure film making in which each and every scene is carefully constructed and shot in order to contribute to the overall tone of the piece.
A word of praise too for the band Tindersticks whose custom-written soundtrack music and songs adds perfectly to the mood of the film.