A less talented filmmaker might well have botched NÉNETTE ET BONI and made a dry social drama about the precariat and machinations at the fringes of society. Gray and hopeless are the backyards and alleys where the siblings the film is named for (Alice Houri and Grégoire Colin) spend their miserable days. Things look bleak for distressed teenager Boni and unintentionally pregnant Nenette. Hopeful rays of light rarely come their way. Denis nonetheless succeeds in navigating the shallows of well-meaning, kitschy social advocacy and banlieue exploitation. Instead, her sincere interest in the characters and their goals and desires makes a powerful impact. Rather than using the troubled biographies of her characters as a pretext for agitation against »those at the top«, the filmmaker manages to kindle sympathetic feelings most viewers will consider genuine and lacking any self-righteous agenda. You don’t have to love her heroes and don’t have to save them from themselves. Still, Denis is winning them some respect.
Nénette Et Boni
5 Rue du Chevalier de Saint-George
Selected filmography Claire Denis
CHOCOLAT (1988), BEAU TRAVAIL (1999), TROUBLE EVERY DAY (2001), THE INTRUDER (2004), 35 SHOTS OF RUM (2008), WHITE MATERIAL (2009), LES SALAUDS (2013)