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Alex Descas

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  • Cannes Film Review: 'Bastards'

    The insidious web of money, sex and power -- a vintage film noir premise -- entangles all of the characters in "Bastards," a hypnotic nocturnal thriller from Claire Denis. Taking its loose inspiration from Kurosawa (the corporate revenge drama "The Bad Sleep Well") and a startling act of sexual violence from Faulkner's "Sanctuary," this powerfully acted, unsettling roundelay of damaged lives is sure to offend gentler tastes (as it did in its divisive Cannes premiere), even if Denis has made that increasingly rare film in which the graphic acts depicted seem more necessary than superfluous. Fests and arthouse distribs that have long supported the maverick helmer should prove ready takers for this provocative item, which opens Aug. 7 in France.