So apparently, back in the day, Claire Denis made a gory cannibalism horror film! And it’s beautiful.
Trouble Every Day (2001) follows two people with an urge to consume human flesh that’s intrinsically tied to erotic desire. Coré (Beatrice Dalle) is locked up in her attic by Léo Semenau (Alex Descas) but manages to escape each day to go hunting-by-seduction. And Shane Brown (Vincent Gallo) takes June (Tricia Vessey) to Paris on their honeymoon, but he spends half the time trying to track down Léo to consult about his odd food preferences.
The plot is actually the weakest part of the film, followed by any performance related more to the plot than the sensuality. Denis is a master of the tactile here, managing to make body and skin say so much without becoming prurient, as this review by Chris Bowen articulates so well (the line “We feel Christelle’s [Florence Loiret Caille] physical pain and her crushing disappointment as her own lust is perversely and unfairly turned against her.” hit me like a freight train). The beating heart of this film that perverts the pursuit of intimacy into ghastly consumption lies in the respective life partners of the two leads, who, as Walter Chaw puts it, demonstrate again and again “the capacity to love one another unconditionally.”
Trouble Every Day is the rare film that breaks your heart while it grosses you out.