Bastards

Bastards

DVD - 2014 | French
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Following his brother-in-law's suicide, sea captain Marco goes AWOL to rescue his estranged sister and teenaged niece from a powerful, wealthy businessman, who just so happens to be his lover's husband. But Marco's attempt at heroism is soon thwarted as he delves further into the hellish world his sister has involved herself in, and the deception from those he trusted most
Publisher: New York, NY : Sundance Selects, [2014]
ISBN: 9780788617829
0788617826
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (100 min.) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in
digital,optical,surround,Dolby digital 5.1
DVD,NTSC
video file,DVD video,region 1
Other Standard Identifier: 030306935997

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andreajesse
Nov 28, 2019

I remember seeing this when it first came out. I was disturbed then and even more so now. More so because I see the wider implications of how power not only corrupts an individual but warps everyone around him as they try to survive the tyranny. The ring leader of the bastards is powerful businessman Edouard Laporte. He is able to control everyone. He is a sexual pervert who uses and abuses, among others, the niece of Marco Silvestri. Marco will do anything to stop him and free the young woman. He moves into Laporte's building to keep an eye on him. In so doing, he happens upon Laporte's wife Raphaëlle played by the stunning Chiara Mastroianni. There is instant attraction and an affair ensues. Marco, without letting on about what he is after with Laporte, assumes Raphaëlle is also disgusted by him. But Raphaëlle and Laporte have a child together. She is comfortable and supports him. Spoiler alert. By the end, Marco hopes to rescue both his niece and Raphaëlle. He has given up on his sister who seemingly has sold out her own daughter to the brutal perversions of Laporte and his powerful friends. Marco is wrong to think he can go up against such power and corruption. He is dead wrong. Like another female French director, Catherine Breillat, Claire Denis is totally uncompromising in her portrayal of brutality.

b
Byond
Aug 05, 2017

Of films directed by her listed with a rating on RT (10), only one (Trouble Every Day, 2001) ranked lower than this. This one received 66% Tomatometer, 39% audience score. I've rated this low, due to the unpleasantness I felt watching it. There is an article and interview in which Ms. Denis casts some light on all the gloom. http://cinema-scope.com/cinema-scope-online/sanctuary-claire-denis-bastards/ After reading the wiki summary and that piece I revised my rating upward.
'The world of Bastards is cruel, but the film doesn’t feel like it’s being cruel to its characters', this comment by the interviewer is probably true, but the struggle against an ugly world characterizes other work by this director. Again, the interviewer says, 'I felt that the storyteller of Bastards is in love with Marco (the protagonist). The storyteller has a love for everything he represents'. To which Denis replies 'Absolutely. I think I more or less fell in love with most of the characters'.
I don't know whether allowing this darkness in is wise or not. Perhaps it was a good exercise for Denis to work it out.
A final cranky comment. The slipcase for this, under 'sundance selects' imprint puts these words of Manohla Dargis in quotes "Beautiful. Has the tragic undertow of a classic Greek tragedy. The story grips you entirely". That is a mashup of actual words, including 'grimly beautiful and somewhat unhinged' and 'The story grips you entirely even if Ms. Denis’s worldview here finally feels like a tomb: terrifying, pitiless, inevitable'.

voisjoe1 Jun 26, 2014

(not rated – probably NC-17 if the film were to seek a rating) - I see similarities of this art/noir film to the straight/neo-noir film Chinatown in that a citizen’s investigations determine that a powerful individual is involved in perverted sexual activities. One difference of “Bastards” and “Chinatown” is that that the characters in “Bastards” keep their identities and motivations close to the vest so the audience continuously has difficulty with the puzzle. The characters in “Chinatown,” are just a bit more revealing as to what they are doing. If the "Bastards" audience becomes lazy, it will become hopelessly lost in what is going on. In both films, the “bad” guys are so evil that the audience is lulled into the idea that the “good guys” are destined to win. But in life, do the “good guys” always win?

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voisjoe1 Jun 26, 2014

voisjoe1 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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