Review by Trylon volunteer Patrick Vehling
In the Parisian suburbs lit by a dusk sun, a woman stands by the side of the road. A semi-trailer drives by slowly; the driver locks eyes with the tussle-haired woman, a woman he perceives to be a hooker. He parks, gets out and proceeds to her aged and dented van. Cut to night scene: A man on a motorcycle approaches and notices the van and slows down, walks into a field and sees the woman – the woman is covered and blood and passionately chewing on flesh. The man approaches.
In this coldy crafted film by the brilliant French director Claire Denis (Chocolat, Beau travail), characters are introduced slowly and tenderly with minimal dialogue to allow the atmosphere to be revealed on a different sense than expected: the sort of sparse air watching a tree blow in the wind on a cool fall day.
The man (Alex Descas) approaching the woman (Béatrice Dalle) is as mysterious as the concept of walking up to someone chewing on a dead human body. He is a doctor who worked in the Guyanese jungle experimenting with unsavory subjects, seemingly for the benefit of the woman, with whom he worked and partnered with. His devotion to her feeds his love and inability to deal with her breakdown.
The film takes on an almost postcard-like feel as the young couple Shane (Vincent Gallo) and June (Tricia Vessey) arrive in Paris for their honeymoon, to do touristy Parisian things a couple in love would do. From the beginning, this couple, though recently married and physically close, have a sort of distance – an emotional dissonance that the actors gracefully and tenderly explore in a way non-actors being filmed would. That tenderness and absolute emotional weakness is captured perfectly by Gallo, who is no stranger to those types of roles.
Trouble Every Day came out a few years before Gallo’s controversial The Brown Bunny (2003). The similarities between the two characters Gallo plays are striking in their loss of control, mental breakdown, and vacancy – something many more experienced actors can’t seem to get down without approaching over-dramaticism. Despite Gallo’s off-screen persona as a homophobic, racist asshole who offers his sperm to any non-Jewish white woman for one million dollars – it’s hard to actually confirm or deny if that is merely just a shtick for celebrity or if he really is a prick – he certainly has cornered the market on the weak and distraught male lead.
This film is a horrific and devastating look at love, sexual tension and the emotional veracity and weakness involved in sharing life, or as the Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky puts it, “like a symptom of the hopelessness of trying to grasp what is boundless, or unite what cannot be joined; a reminder of how finite, how curtailed our experience on earth must be.” — Patrick Vehling
Trouble Every Day screens Monday and Tuesday, October 27 and 28 at the Trylon. Showtimes are 7:00 and 9:00, and you can purchase advance tickets here.