Every day, Watch This offers staff recommendations inspired by a new movie coming out that week. This week: Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 has us thinking of vampire alternatives.
Trouble Every Day (2001)
When it was released in 2001, Claire Denis’ elliptical mood piece on love and vampirism fell into the arthouse no-man’s land—too arty for horror fans, too unremittingly gruesome for Francophiles. Reviews were mostly awful, with adjectives alternating between “gory” and “tedious,” and the acclaim that greeted Denis’ Beau Travail and Friday Night, the two films that sandwiched Trouble Every Day, was in short supply. (Only the Tindersticks’ lush title song—which was submitted, quixotically, for Academy Award consideration—survived unscathed.) But for those whose Venn diagrams have extreme horror and high art overlapping, the film stands out as an explicit yet haunting and mysterious metaphor for the consuming power of desire. In that sense, it’s Friday Night with bite.
Though the rules of vampire movies don’t strictly apply, “the sickness” in Trouble Every Day describes a similarly cannibalistic taste for blood. Vincent Gallo stars as a newlywed who takes his bride (Tricia Vessey) on a honeymoon in Paris, but can’t control his darker urges. Gallo tries to track down a former pharmaceutical researcher (Alex Descas) for an experimental cure, but the scientist is dealing with his own feral wife (Béatrice Dalle), who he keeps shuttered in her bedroom. Much like the great Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In several years later, Trouble Every Day shows the lengths people will go to in order to protect the creatures they love, even when their savagery gets out of hand. But it’s a tougher, colder, more somber film, turning passions of the flesh into passion for the flesh.
Availability: Import only. Its original U.S. distributor, Lot 47, went out of business. Criterion continues to drop the ball.