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Un Beau Soleil Interieur (Let the Sunshine In) review – Juliette Binoche excels in grownup film

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Inspired by, but not adapted from, Roland Barthes, Claire Denis’ new film about a single woman living alone in Paris is a sophisticated delight

Claire Denis has confected one of the festival’s most unexpectedly delightful movies, showing in the Directors Fortnight sidebar. It’s an elegant, eccentric relationship comedy of ideas, highly rarefied and possessed of an almost inscrutable sophistication: the film has been co-written by Denis and novelist Christine Angot, reportedly inspired, in the loosest sense, by Roland Barthes’s prose meditation A Lovers Discourse: Fragments. The director has however warned audiences off the idea of seeing it as any sort of adaptation.

This is grownup film-making, more savoury than sweet, seductive, oblique and carried by a wonderfully smart and emotionally generous performance from Juliette Binoche – who delivers the material superbly, material which from almost anyone else would sound dyspeptic or absurd. (Isabelle Huppert would have been wrong in the role, though it’s amusing to imagine it.)

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