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The year is 1915. Camille Claudel has been confined into an asylum. She doesn’t know why but she cannot stand another day here. When news come that her brother Paul will come with a visit she puts all her hope into this. But she is destined to remain locked up here for another 30 years until the day she dies.
CAMILLE CLAUDEL is a few days account of the genius sculptor who’s mental sickness made her destroy almost all her works. But it is not her suspected schizophrenia that is the reason her family put her into asylum, but an abortion, that was regarded by her religious brother Paul as a murder.
You might have seen slow films in your lifetime, but you have seen nothing until you have seen CAMILLE CLAUDEL. There’s a lot of wondering around the monastery, a lot of grotesque faces and weird sounds. Camille positioned as the only sane person in this kingdom of madness, and this is how she was seen by many of her friends at the time she was locked up. But Camille is not exactly OK. Her paranoid fear of being poisoned and belief that everyone is trying to steal her work is hardly normal.
You do not need to see horror to scare you. The monastery is beautiful, the countryside is stunning, but the confinement is absolute. It is the lack of hope to ever be free that’s terrifying.
Camille is not abused, she is treaded with kindness, so she tries to be kind too. But her mind is beyond this wall. With her family. And it is her family that confined her here.
The main reason to see this film is to enjoy another fantastic performance from Juliette Binoche. She is different here, yet again, with constantly wondering eyes and sorrow stuck in her throat, making it hard to breath or swallow. Without vanity or excess Binoche gives us a desperate woman in peril, who lives in hope of deliverance that will never come.
The film does not take sides, but with Camille’s refusal to work again, and her determination to give up being an artist, it gets across a simple message that the only prison an artist can be confined in, is the one she creates for herself.