Monday, May 2, 2011


On the subject of what 'Trouble Every Day' - an unconventional love story story that mixes cannibalism, vampire-ism, horror, romance & drama - is "about", filmmaker Claire Denis said it was about being afraid of hurting the one you love because you love them too much. Some of you may roll your eyes at that kind of a statement but I find it pretty interesting. The entire movie itself is a play on phrases like; "I love you to death" or, when you see a cute child, "you're so cute, I could eat you up". Now...I've never liked or loved someone so much that I wanted to kill or hurt them (or eat that person alive or bite off their genitalia like actors Beatrice Dalle & Vincent Gallo do in 'trouble every day') but at the same time, I kind of understand where Denis is coming from (and I know there are people out there that can relate as well).
Prior to the release of 'Trouble Every Day', there had been minimal violence & blood in Denis' films. Alex Descas gets stabbed at the end of 'no fear no die' and there is a scene of an old women getting strangled in 'i cant sleep', but that was it. Naturally people were shocked to see a movie like this come from the director responsible for stuff like; 'nenette & boni' & 'chocolate' (2 films from the perspective of young children/teens). Furthermore, I'm willing to bet that people didn't expect a movie like this to come from a woman. Lets be honest - had this movie come from a male director it would've ruffled feathers, but at the same time it would've been expected. Or...on the flip side, had a man directed this movie, people would have called it misogynistic and sadistic. But since a woman was responsible it just left people scratching their heads not knowing how to judge or if they should be offended. 2001 must have been a tough year to sit through at the Cannes film festival. Not only was there vaginal mutilation in 'Trouble Ever Day', but 2001 also brought us Michael Haneke's masterpiece; 'The Piano Teacher' which features a scene where Isabelle Hupert cuts her vagina with a razor. The New French Extremity was in full swing and films like Trouble Every Day & The Piano Teacher (two films made by directors who only dabbled in that particular film scene once) were two of the most prominent works to come out of that genre/scene.

The most unique thing about 'Trouble Every Day' is that it has elements of a vampire film, yet there are no actual vampires or supernatural elements to be found anywhere in the story. As you watch the film you see what appears to be nods at classic vampire movies like Dracula, Nosferatu and the cult movie; blood for Dracula...

Vincent Gallo in 'Trouble Every Day'
Bela Logosi as Dracula
Klaus Kinski as Nosferatu

Vincent Gallo and Tricia Vessey in 'trouble every day' (i don't know why, but this scene in the bathtub always reminded me of 'blood for dracula')....
Udo Kier in 'Blood For Dracula'

'Trouble Every Day'
'Blood For Dracula'

Trouble Every Day also seems to draw inspiration from older French films like Trans-Eruop-Express...

...and A Married Woman...

Even with all the obvious influences, the idea behind 'Trouble Every Day' still makes it one of the most original films in recent years. Not only is this one of Claire Denis' strongest works, but it's also one of my all time favorite semi-recent films. And much like the other "misunderstood masterpieces" that we've already explored ('fear x' and 'solaris'), the soundtrack is excellent. What makes the music so great is that it can stand on its own without even accompanying the film.

Trouble every day is a very sensual film. Denis captures a lot of details in the female character's body, and there are plenty of scenes where they are casually walking around half naked in their underwear or completely naked. So while this movie may be categorized as misogynistic by some, the (female) filmmaker celebrates the female body in my opinion. Denis' selection of actresses for this movie is very much on point. They all have natural beauty (especially Florence Loiret) without surgery, augmentation or very much make-up. 

It seems like only hardcore Claire Denis fans love this movie. It doesn't really sit well with critics upon its initial release (the movie is still "rotten" on rotten tomatoes and Leonard Maltin considered this movie a "bomb"), but it's slowly gaining a nice-sized cult following (I have to take some of the credit for keeping Trouble Every Day's legacy alive for all these years)


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