Cannibalistic sex is contrasted with tenderness, which have broken down and become separate though never free from the threat of crossover, in Claire Denis’s vampire movie, Trouble Every Day, co-written by Jean-Pol Fargeau and Denis. Coré is kept locked up by her spouse, research scientist Léo Semeneau, who tries to come up with an antidote for her condition, but somehow she gets out at night from their suburban Parisian home for some lethal roadside bloodsucking/sex. Poor Léo can’t risk having sex with his own wife, as a result of which all his love is expressed as tenderness. Crosscutting and overlapping sound and image from one shot to the next link Coré’s condition to Shane Brown’s odd behavior.
Shane and June, newlyweds, are in Paris on their honeymoon; but Shane can’t seem to consummate their marriage. When sex seems imminent, Shane tears himself away from June—otherwise, he is poignantly tender toward her—and retreats to the bathroom, where he (literally!) whacks himself off. No matter which gender is the vampire, it appears, the guy is the protective spouse. However, a woman cabbie takes the couple to the hotel, and a room maid is the twenty-first century “bellboy” lugging their luggage to their room.
Denis’s exquisite, erotic horror film notes things that are amiss in the everyday world: a family estrangement; on-the-job theft; insatiable appetites. A Mona Lisa-lampshade hints the commercial degeneracy of a culture. Throughout, there’s a confusion of motive and outcome. Did Shane “steal” Léo’s research for the antidote to his own condition, or is his condition the punitive result of the professional theft?
”I want to go home,” Shane finally tells June, whose red gloves—the film is alternately tinged and saturated with red—are a displacement upwards of you-know-whose ruby slippers.
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