Camille Claudel 1915, film review: Juliette Binoche captures artist's feral quality

(PG) Bruno Dumont, 95 mins Starring: Juliette Binoche, Jean-Luc Vincent
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The Independent Culture

Bruno Dumont's austere biopic stars Juliette Binoche as Camille, the artist and former lover of sculptor Rodin. She has been confined by her family in an asylum.

Dumont depicts her daily life in forensic detail. She refuses to wash so the nurses force her to bathe.

Camille seems more sane than many of her fellow inmates but when her brother, the writer Paul Claudel (Jean-Luc Vincent) comes to visit, we begin to realise why she has been incarcerated. The pride and independence that made her into an artist have also eaten away at her sanity.

Dumont tells Camille's story in a detached way. This is more like an anthropological study than a conventional drama. Binoche portrays her with subtlety, capturing her feral quality and sensitivity. We begin to realise that Camille is a monstrous egotist.

This is a difficult film, but made with impressive formal rigour.

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