’35 Shots of Rum’ curiously lighthearted despite the brooding

“35 Shots of Rum,”
Thursday-Sunday, Jan 14-17
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
415 Couch Drive
236-3100

In “35 Shots of Rum,” Joséphine and her father, Lionel, seem to need little more than each other.

Employed by the metro train system, Lionel (Alex Descas), a widowed African immigrant, is able to afford a humble-but-cozy apartment in a housing project near Paris and provide a warm home life for his daughter (Mati Diop), a collegian caught in the awkward transition between studying the vast world out there and becoming part of it.

They exist in a lovely and tenuous balance underscored by emotional connection and loyalty. Their life is somewhat isolated, although their family circle is widened to incorporated two neighbors: Gabrielle (Nicole Dogue), a taxi driver and Lionel’s ex-flame, who is still madly in love with him, and Noé (Grégoire Colin), a good-looking but slovenly eccentric who’s desperately in love with Joséphine.

French director Claire Denis (“Trouble Every Day”) is masterful at stirring a sensual stew with a slow, steady hand. The most important details are usually the subtlest, and sidelong looks, longing glances or delicate whispers by far carry the most meaning. If you’re in the mood for something brooding, beautiful and curiously lighthearted, “Rum” is well worth a shot.

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Joe Wertz

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