Release dateSeptember 5, 2008 (2008-09-05) (TIFF)
February 18, 2009 (2009-02-18) (France)
March 5, 2009 (2009-03-05)
(Germany) WriterClaire Denis (scenario), Jean-Pol Fargeau (scenario) Initial releaseFebruary 18, 2009 (France) CastMati Diop, Nicole Dogue, Grégoire Colin, Alex Descas (Lionel) Similar moviesRelated Claire Denis movies
35 rhums trailer
35 Shots of Rum (French: 35 Rhums) is a 2008 film, directed by Claire Denis, the French filmmaker. It made its North American premiere at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival, and was shown outside of competition at the Venice Film Festival. It was later released to limited theaters in 2009. Claire Denis was in part inspired by Yasujirō Ozu's Late Spring.
Lionel (Alex Descas), a widower who drives RER trains in metropolitan Paris, has raised his daughter Josephine (Mati Diop) alone for many years. They have always shared a special bond and live a secure and contented life somewhat isolated from others, in an apartment building in a suburb of Paris. Josephine, an anthropology student, is now grown and become a young woman, but she remains deeply devoted to her father.
They have developed a loose family with other residents of the building: Gabrielle (Nicole Dogue), a cab driver and another neighbor, who once had a love affair with Lionel; and Noé (Grégoire Colin), a moody young man who lives with his cat and has feelings for Josephine. Noé leads a disorganized life and goes abroad often. Gabrielle appears to have feelings for Lionel and motherly feelings towards Josephine. Both father and daughter are ambivalent toward more than a casual friendship with anyone outside their special relationship.
While attending the retirement party for a colleague and friend, Lionel declines to try the customary feat of downing 35 shots of rum. His colleague appears to be lost without his job, and Lionel realizes that time is moving on. He (Lionel) must find meaning and security in things other than his present life, lest he end up the same way. During an outing with Gabrielle and Noé, their car breaks down and the four friends take refuge in a closed bar. Noé shows his feelings for Josephine, and Lionel realizes that she must eventually leave him. He knows that she needs to live her own life independent of him. It is subtly suggested that Josephine decides to marry Noé in a scene of her emotionally charged visit to Noé's apartment.
When Lionel's former colleague commits suicide on the RER tracks, Lionel has to stop his train when he comes across the body. The father and the daughter then went on a long car trip to visit her mother's tomb in Germany before her wedding.
In the final scene, Josephine weds a nervous but happy Noé. At the party, Lionel successfully downs 35 shots of rum in celebration of the occasion. It is not clear whether he does so in joy or in sadness. He returns home to live alone.
35 Shots of Rum, described as "an intimate family study", has been very well received by critics. It premiered in North America at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2008 and was shown outside the competition at Venice before being released for general distribution. The review aggregator website Metacritic gave it a score of 96, (making it the second-best reviewed film of the year), with Rotten Tomatoes rating it 97% out of 100.