Sea captain Marco returns to Paris upon hearing that his sister’s husband has committed suicide. He finds out that his sister’s family business is in tatters, while her teenage daughter is hospitalised with mysterious injuries. Wishing to discover what happened, Marco rents an apartment near his brother-in-law’s creditor—a shady businessman with unspeakable secrets—and begins to seduce the man’s lover Raphaëlle.
Twelve years after Trouble Every Day (2001), Claire Denis returns to the territory of genre films with this menacing revenge thriller. Yet in Bastards, Denis foregoes the jaw-dropping blood and flesh of a horror film and, instead, sets an ominous mood in this nocturnal neo-noir. Bastards dares us not to avert our eyes from the darkness of our kind.
About the Director
Claire Denis (b. 1946, France) began her career working on set in Dusan Makavejev's Sweet Movie (1974). Her years working alongside Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch were crucial to her growth as a filmmaker before she directed her debut Chocolat (1988). Her next films I Can’t Sleep (1994) and Nénette et Boni (1996) interweave narratives inspired by the urban culture of Paris. Denis’s elliptical narrative and visual style received widespread acclaim with Beau Travail (1999) while Trouble Every Day (2001) made a shocking presentation in which Denis, regarded as an arthouse director, turned to the horror genre. The 2000s were significant for her career, which saw the release of Friday Night (2002), 35 Shots of Rum (2008), and White Material (2009). In 2022, Both Sides of the Blade and Stars at Noon won prizes at the Berlinale and Cannes respectively. Working closely with her long-time collaborators, such as cinematographer Agnès Godard and the rock band Tindersticks, Denis has contributed a diverse body of work to contemporary cinema.
Image at top: Claire Denis. Bastards, 2013. Photo: Courtesy of Wild Bunch International