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Claire Denis' elliptical, impressionistic portrait of two troubled siblings in Marseille foregrounds the simultaneously tactile and dreamlike sensuality that would come to define her cinema.
Winner of the Golden Leopard at the 1996 Locarno Film Festival, Denis' elliptical, impressionistic portrait of two troubled siblings in Marseille foregrounds the simultaneously tactile and dreamlike sensuality that would come to define her cinema. Sex-starved Boni (Grégoire Colin), residing in the house that belonged to his deceased mother, earns a living running a pizza truck while constantly fantasizing about the beautiful wife (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) of the local baker (Vincent Gallo). When Boni's younger sister Nénette (Alice Houri), who is harbouring a secret, escapes from her boarding school and returns to their mother's home, she faces her brother's cold disinterest and resentment over her relationship with their estranged father (played by actor-filmmaker Jacques Nolot). Featuring lush, intimate cinematography by Agnès Godard — the series of drifting close-ups that end the film is a high point of Denis' cinema — and a tender, evocative soundtrack by the UK group Tindersticks (the first of the band's numerous collaborations with Denis), "Nénette et Boni is a highly evocative, hypnotically organic, and exquisitely sensual portrait of connection, intimacy, and surrogate relationships" (Acquarello, Strictly Film School).