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Camille Claudel 19152013

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  • 3.7
  • passes the bechdel test
In CAMILLE CLAUDEL 1915, Juliette Binoche gives a mesmerizing performance as Auguste Rodin's protégé (and later mistress), and sister of the Christian/mystic poet Paul Claudel. Inspired by the correspondence between Paul and Camille, writer/director Bruno Dumont focuses on Camille Claudel's struggle to find understanding and recognition as an artist, and the moments before her brother's visit while she is confined to a mental institution. Shot in a real psychiatric asylum, Bruno Dumont brings together a supporting cast comprised of real-life patients and their actual nurses that, alongside Binoche, create an emotionally intense ensemble, and a rare cinematic experience. While the camera rarely ventures outside of her prison's thick walls, the story of Camille Claudel's twenty-nine-year confinement is in itself a tale of defiance against social norms, and a testament to the power of creativity and fortitude.
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Member Reviews (8)

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filmmaker

Absolutely brilliant film!!! Disturbing, beautiful, terrifying, gorgeous. Binoche is amazing.

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top reviewer

Technically, outstanding. We are there. We are also entombed. The patient pace, from the beginning, gradually lets us conclude that this is not ending quickly or easily. Juliette leads us into the life of a woman who had been greatly wronged. victimized, abandoned, but believes because of her conviction of her position and innocence, that her confinement, which she does not understand, is undeserved. She might be afflicted with something like paranoid schizophrenia but her brother suffers in his religious delusions. This film is not entertaining, but does allow us to live in an insane asylum in 1915 France, but hopefully for less than 29 years.

Camille Claudel, 1915, Dumont's last foray into straight dramaturgy, delivers in full force all of the Bressonian attributes that Dumont has always been told he's the sole heir to. Each set piece is precise, every composition measured and balanced with the care someone like Claudel or her once-lover and teacher Auguste Rodin would take in making a sculpture. Dumont's austerity and plodding pace is taxing (in a positive sense) as it draws upon every pain, every moment of existential angst inside of Claudel. I read somebody say something along the lines of if you want to watch Juliette Binoche cry naked for two hours, than this is the movie for you. No, Binoche--god this sounds pretentious and hyperbolic--is Claudel. But it is Binoche, what else could be expected. The interiors look decorated by the impressionists artists in which Claudel was a part of and even the façade of the institution in which Claudel has been relegated to that looms hauntingly over the remnants of a garden looks very much like Rodin's The Gates of Hell. This is not a "hysterical woman" film, it is only a biopic in the most technical terms, what Camille Claudel is, is an unflinching look at a great artist, an obviously tortured woman who has been betrayed and consumed by her peers, her family and her culture, and how and if there is any existential reconciliation to be had when you are trapped and representation and reality become blurred.

A bit slow

If you know her history, the film gets even more interesting.

This movie touched me deeply. This sort of thing does happen. I know someone who was admitted to

a state psychiatric hospital by her family. She wasn't all that ill when she was admitted in 1970. The

last time I saw her was in 1975, and still no chance of getting out. I believe she was railroaded by

her husband. She lost her two daughters and her mother stopped visiting her. IT DOES HAPPEN!!!!

and it is so sad. When I saw her in 1975 I took her out to lunch, and the despair, grief, tears were overwhelming for me. I then moved to California, haven't seen her since, and I think of her a lot. I was so impressed with Juliet Binoche's performance. The despair struck me to the core and reminded me so much of my friend. Not sure if she ever got out. I sure do hope she did and I hope she got back her children. As I said it can happen, and I pray for these people.

90 minutes of Juliette Binoche crying. I expected more.

very slow moving and not a very compelling history.