Claire Denis’s scalding examination of the abuse of power and the sin of looking the other way may be the year’s most unforgettable film noir. Inspired by William Faulkner’s 1931 novel, Sanctuary, and the Sadean sex parties attended by Dominique Strauss-Kahn and other French higher-ups, Bastards centers on a revenge plot that begins tenuously but grows only more inexorable. Sea captain Marco (Vincent Lindon) reluctantly returns to Paris to assist his disgraced sister, Sandra (Julie Bataille): Her husband has just committed suicide, and her daughter, Justine (Lola Créton), is recovering in a clinic for participation in carnal acts so extreme that she may require a series of delicate operations. Convinced that Edouard LaPorte (Michel Subor), a DSK-like figure, is linked to both incidents, Marco plans his retaliation by stealthily ingratiating himself with LaPorte’s much younger wife (Chiara Mastroianni). But when the shipmaster discovers Sandra’s complicity in acts of unspeakable depravity, the revelations take on the force of Greek tragedy. Denis’s uncompromising film, her first to be shot on digital video by her frequent cinematographer Agnès Godard, lays bare the unpardonable act of remaining silent.
Bastards is a thriller truly etched in darkness, pools of black broken mostly by the stricken yet soldiering faces of her main characters, like ships in a sea of stormy nights.
—Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
Bastards skillfully deploys noir tropes-the alienated hero, the two-timing femme fatale, the ever-widening web of deceit-in the service of a larger political vision
—Dana Stevens, Slate
Jean-Pol Fargeau, Claire Denis
Marco: Vincent Lindon
Raphaëlle: Chiara Mastroianni
Sandra: Julie Bataille
Eduard Laporte: Michel Subor
Justine: Lola Creton
Official Selection – New York Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, and Cannes Film Festival (2013)
RUNNING TIME 100 min
PRODUCTION France, 2013
FORMAT(S) DCP, Blu-ray, and DVD
$350 to $500 pending format
*Fees for screening rights are negotiable and may depend on: format, size of screening room, whether admission will be charged, etc. Check with each distributor and make sure to mention your participation in Tournées in your negotiation.