Best of… Series – 1996 – Nenette and Boni

Nenette and Boni (Claire Denis, 1996)

To celebrate watching 1500 movies (yep, this was my 1500th movie), I went back to a reliable favorite – Claire Denis. And this did not disappoint. A large portion of the beginning of this film is spent following a slightly dead-beat 19 year old boy, Boni, as he does pretty much nothing but obsess over the local baker’s wife. In another storyline, Nenette runs away from home. Almost 30 minutes in we learn they are brother and sister, and have lived apart almost their entire lives.

Denis establishes a real sense of irresponsibility in these characters’ long introductions, but does so to really bring out a sense of maturation as the film continues – well, at least in Boni. He is most definitely flawed, but begins to make many decisions in his life that, while not entirely wise, have a lot of heart behind them. The film even features a scene where he and the baker’s wife share a coffee, that by means of a seemingly unimportant conversation about perfume, Denis is able to convey how much growing up Boni has done over the course of the film. Nenette, however, is still floundering around, trying to put together the pieces of her life that she can’t seem to figure out. She’s a character who garners much sympathy from me. Also, I don’t really know where to include this, but I have to mention that there are a couple of scenes between the baker and his wife (who are shown, I suppose, to contrast Nenette and Boni’s situation?) that are amazingly poetic illustrations of love – probably my favorite single scenes in the film.  9/10

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3 Responses to “Best of… Series – 1996 – Nenette and Boni”

  1. What’s you favorite Claire Denis film? I’ve never seen one…

    • chrisfilm Says:

      Beau Travail is my favorite. Next is 35 Rhums, which might be a good place to start. For what it’s worth, L’Intrus is probably her least accessible.

  2. Thanks!

    I just saw the very first sci-fi film to deal with events after a nuclear disaster — Five, (1951)…. Almost a good film…

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