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Let the Sunshine In

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Criterion Collection: Let the Sunshine In | Blu-ray Review

Criterion Collection: Let the Sunshine In | Blu-ray Review

Claire Denis had one of her most prominent showings in over a decade with her 2017 title Let the Sunshine In, a melancholy rom com of sorts featuring a lovely Juliette Binoche. The film opened the Directors’ Fortnight sidebar at the Cannes Film Festival and US distributor IFC released it to the tune of nearly $900,000 at the domestic box office (which trounced Denis’ 2009 Isabelle Huppert starrer White Material, also distributed by IFC, and wasn’t too far behind her other Binoche title, High Life, released earlier this year by A24). A complex portrait of what amounts to our own self-sabotage when it comes to the pursuit of love, Denis won the SACD Prize out of the Fortnight while Binoche nabbed a Cesar nomination.

From our review out of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival:

Denis comes as close as she ever will to romantic comedy territory with the wryly staged Let the Sunshine In starring an effervescent Juliette Binoche as a woman who becomes increasingly obsessed with finding love but chronically searching in all the wrong places. Denis was inspired by Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse as a vehicle for Binoche. Retooling it with novelist Christine Angot, they morph it into a slender thread of revolving sexual and romantic vignettes a middle aged artist experiences. Although there’s certainly never been any doubt as to the range of La Binoche, the performer shoulders the entire fragile frame of the narrative with stunning aplomb, walking a fine line between relatability and unhinged desperado of amour fou.

Disc Review:

Criterion (which previously brought Denis’ White Material into the collection) presents Let the Sunshine In as a director-approved transfer from the 4K digital master (which is DP approved) with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio. Picture and sound quality are lustrous in this release, which includes several extra features, presented in 1.60:1.

Claire Denis:
Criterion produced this twenty-minute interview with Claire Denis in 2019, who discusses Binoche’s involvement and the creation of the narrative (the film shot in February of 2017 for five weeks and premiered in May that year).

Juliette Binoche:
Criterion also produced this seventeen-minute interview with Juliette Binoche in 2019, who discusses how she became involved with the project and creating humor in a dismal, lovelorn scenario.

Voila l’enchainment:
This thirty-minute 2014 short from Denis, which stars Alex Descas and Norah Krief as an interracial couple whose relationship is imploding, “Voila l’enchainment (Here’s How It Plays Out” is based on a text by novelist Christine Angot.

Final Thoughts:

Love is a many splendored and anxiety laden thing in Denis’ superb Let the Sunshine In.

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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