Un beau soleil intérieur
starring Juliette Binoche, Xavier Beauvois, Josiane Balasko, Sandrine Dumas
screenplay by Claire Denis and Christine Angot, based on the book A Lover's Discourse: Fragments by Roland Barthes
directed by Claire Denis
by Angelo Muredda Improbable as it might seem for a filmmaker who once wrestled with philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy's elliptical and uncanny autobiographical essay on his heart transplant, Claire Denis sets her sights on the ostensibly lower-hanging fruit of the romantic comedy in Let the Sunshine In. This play with formal conventions has some precedent, to be sure, in the near-magical coincidences of Vendredi soir and the table-setting musical centrepiece that drives the final act of 35 Shots of Rum. As with L'Intrus, the film also stands as an idiosyncratic adaptation of a French philosopher's non-narrative work--this time Roland Barthes's A Lover's Discourse: Fragments, whose musings on how lovers talk to each other aren't loaded in the characters' mouths here so much as they are allowed to steep into the ambience like a strong tea. If the genre of happy endings and restored cosmic imbalances seems on paper to be an odd fit for Denis's predilections for delicate wordless gestures, in practice, Let the Sunshine In is nevertheless as singular as Denis's ostensibly less categorizable work: a mercurial and rather lovely portrait of a lonely woman's attempt to replenish herself and secure her future without closing any doors, which is ultimately as open to possibility as its heroine.