35 Shots of Rum

  • 12
  • Claire Denis (2008)
  • Fr / Ger (SUB)
  • 96 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

This rare celebration of functional families captures the rhythms and rituals of daily life in melting-pot Paris with a subtlety that reinforces its poignant mood of compassion and acceptance. Writer/director Claire Denis's film is suffused with the spirit of Japanese maestro Yasujiro Ozu (An Autumn Afternoon, The End of Summer), and she draws on her own family history to depict the relationship between widowed train driver Lionel (Alex Descas) and his student daughter Joséphine (Mati Diop). Their intuitive intimacy is shared by neighbours Gabrielle (Nicole Dogue) and Noé (Grégoire Colin), who are in love with father and daughter, respectively. But while the performances are taciturnly authentic, it's Denis's use of cinematographer Agnès Godard's meticulously composed imagery that leaves the deepest impression. Whether watching trains snaking through the suburbs or lingering on Diop and Colin as they slow dance in a cosy bar, Denis is more interested in the trust, understanding and love that exists between the quartet than any domestic melodrama, and her discretion makes this movie unforgettable.

Plot Summary

Drama starring Alex Descas and Mati Diop. Train driver Lionel has been raising his daughter Joséphine alone ever since she was a little girl, and they now share a life of cosy domesticity in a Paris flat. But when the now grown-up Joséphine becomes involved with a handsome neighbour, Lionel realises that she will soon fly the nest.

Cast and crew


Alex Descas
Mati Diop
Nicole Dogue
Grégoire Colin
The Aunt
Ingrid Caven


Claire Denis

Other Information

French, German +subtitles
Theatrical distributor: 
New Wave Films
Violence and swearing.
Available on DVD
Released 10 Jul 2009
Certificate 12