Twentynine Palms (2003)

Yekaterina GolubevaDavid Wissak
Bruno Dumont


Twentynine Palms (2003) is a French,English,Russian movie. Bruno Dumont has directed this movie. Yekaterina Golubeva,David Wissak are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2003. Twentynine Palms (2003) is considered one of the best Drama movie in India and around the world.

David, an independent photographer, and Katia, an unemployed woman, leave Los Angeles, en route to the southern California desert, where they search a natural set to use as a backdrop for a magazine photo shoot. They find a motel in the town of Twentynine Palms and spend their days in their sport-utility vehicle, discovering the Joshua Tree Desert, and losing themselves on nameless roads and trails. Frantically making love all the time and almost everywhere, they regularly fight, then kiss and make up, with little else going on in their empty relationship and quite ordinary daily life--until something horrible and hideous brutally puts an end to their trip.

Twentynine Palms (2003) Reviews

  • Great, unusual experience - very strong, raw, primordial...


    This seems to be a serious film, although it's easy to misunderstand it or to be appalled by it. Scenes of "animalistic" sex with almost no conversation or foreplay, scenes of horrific violence, hardly any plot -- all that might be a total turn-off for many. I was lucky to attend a Q&A session with the director, where he answered a lot of questions. The idea for this film was born when Dumont was in California desert, and, as he puts it, "I was afraid". It seems the time and space and the silence and the power of it all influenced him very much. Among other things, he addressed the audience before the film started, with "if you become afraid when you watch this film, just cover your face with hands". He also stated later that the film is an experiemnt at expressing his feelings, and has no intent, or narrative, or message. The director is free to express himself, and the spectator is free to see whatever (s)he may in the film and take that away. The characters are stripped of anything that would make them likeable or dislikeable, and generally of anything but the very primitive in order to make the experience pure. The characters are not the focus of the film; sound and background are. "Untreated" location sound was used throughout the film and is very important for the director to convey the sense of the place and time. In one scene one could even hear the sound of lighting generator behind the camera, which Dumont refused to edit out during the argument with the sound crew. Camerawork is also original and important in this experience. The serenity of transcendent scenes remind me of Zabriskie Point. Using explicit sex and violence remind me of Irreversible and I Stand Alone. Yet, this is certainly not a "following", this is a highly personal expression, which is designed to generate a highly personal experience for any viewer. Altogether NOT recommended if one is looking for "normal" filmgoing experience.

  • Shock and horror


    A three-legged dog, a dead body lying naked in the middle of the desert, a cop on his walkie-talkie calling for backup and a road block miles from the nearest inhabitant. These and other bizarre things show up in Twentynine Palms, the latest film by Bruno Dumont (La Vie de Jesus, L'Humanite). It is essentially a horror film that might easily be called "Scream 4". The opening scenes are beautiful and serene. David (David Wassik), an independent photographer from Los Angeles, and Katia (Katia Golubeva), a young woman without work, travel in a red 4X4 Hummer toward the vast California desert preparing to do a photo shoot for a magazine near the Joshua Tree National Park. The road leads to a motel in the city of 29 Palms, a desert oasis that in the film consists of one gas station, one hotel, and a swimming pool. Dumont says that he filmed in the U.S. rather than his native France because he "… felt the need to change space, ingredients, colors... and it is while filming in California that I had a true shock". The shock extends to the viewer as well. There is little dialogue or action in the conventional sense. The communication between the couple is complicated by the absence of a common language: he speaks English, she only speaks French. What conversation exists is trapped in a level of superficial banality. The lovers explore the desert in their 4X4 and are focused entirely upon their own pleasure, seemingly defined by their sexuality. They swim in the motel pool, watch game shows on television, eat, make love in the middle of the desert, eat some more, argue and make up, then make love some more, all shown in explicit detail. Everything is familiar, a slice of typical Americana, yet nothing is as it seems. Little by little the milieu becomes oppressive; a quiet and incoherent fear begins to settle in, an abstract fear because as Dumont says, "there is no reason to be afraid." At the end, nothing can fill the emptiness but destruction. The contrast between the poetry of nature and the constricted range of the human experience is clear. In this world without a spiritual core, the screams of pain and screams of delight are indistinguishable and anguish has the same meaning as pleasure. According to Dumont, "There is at the same time the bliss of pure happiness and absolute horror, the capacity to generate the two extremes: the hyper violence and the hyper pleasure. This is a couple that lives for pure pleasure and that will be led into abomination." One cannot be neutral about a Bruno Dumont film (many people walked out during the Vancouver showing). His audiences are polarized between those who love and those that detest his films and the director seems disinterested in reconciling the two. I found this film extremely difficult to watch and even harder to be emotionally engaged with the characters. Dumont tests our endurance with scenes of brutal violence, making no concession to our sensibilities. In bringing us face to face with our worst nightmare, however, he forces us out of our state of emotional detachment and compels us to react, not with our minds or even our hearts, but viscerally with the totality of our being. Far removed from the pre-digested package cinema of Hollywood, Dumont has made an important statement about American values. The question must be asked however -- with films like Twentynine Palms that are so off-putting, will there be anyone who notices?

  • one good review...


    i can easily understand why this film has been so hated, but i must say that it is at times one of the most beautiful, and at others, one of the most disturbing films i've ever seen. after seeing humanite, i walked in to the theatre with very low expectations (i'm not a dumont fan in the least), but something in the stark beauty of the photography sucked me in, i found the numb vacant space of the characters, and hook, line and sinker, fell right into dumont's trap. i doubt i would recommend this film to anyone but my closest (and most tolerant) friends, but have to say that i loved it, and thing it may also be found rewarding by other patient and adventurous viewers.

  • A quiet classic.


    Given the talk on this film, I really wasn't expecting much. And after watching it, I can safely say, that I will never trust the opinions of others again. Unlike my opinion, which you should all listen to! The complaints from people who say it's too slow moving, have obviously never treated themselves to some of the better films from Leigh or Jarmusch. I can imagine what they'd think of Stranger than paradise. These types of movie goers should be ignored at all costs. These ADD movie watchers are the reason films like Breakdown have to turn into a Rambo movie somewhere in the middle. Because studios are afraid these cinematic sugar addicts will never follow a film not layered in one liners, cool dialogue, and fast action. Directed by Bruno Dumont, Palms moves along not so much in a slow and uneventful manner, as rather in a real life, non Hollywood fashion we all move in. Especially when we find ourselves in a small and hot desert town, as this couple does. David (David Wissak) and Katia (Yekaterina Golubeva) are out in the California desert to find a setting for a photo shoot for David, an independent photographer. It's great that there are no distractions from the two main characters. No lights or heavy traffic, or friends stopping by for coffee. These two are as passionate as they are unstable in their relationship. They regularly shift back and forth between controlled arguing and uncontrolled sexual release. All of which is magnified by the heat and isolation of their surroundings. What I love about this film is that I can't remember a single line from it. Just as I can't remember most conversations overheard in everyday life. They talk about the same mundane things we all do, while having the same petty arguments most in relationships have as well. I know that hardly sounds like great movie viewing, but don't worry, that's not the entire film. Nor is it what makes this film brilliant. What makes it brilliant is how it uses the seemingly uneventful as it's base, while building upwards from that with a constant undertone of tension and dysfunction that shifts back and forth between blunt and subtle. This is not a fun movie to watch. But it is one that I will never forget.

  • Slow meditative pace, shocking climax.


    Twentynine Palms (2003) The basic plot outline for Twentynine Palms is that David, a photographer from LA and his Russian lover Katia (who speaks only in subtitled French) are out in the California desert scouting out locations for an upcoming photo shoot, at night they sleep in a motel room in the city of Twentynine Palms, and by day they explore the desert in their red Hummer. First off, there is very little dialog or action in this film, it just flows naturally, relying mainly on visuals and the bleak, brooding atmosphere of the desert. The characters of David and Katia are basically hollow, there's nothing for you to like or dislike about them, they're nonentities. Their relationship is very intense and volatile, but ultimately empty, based purely on frequent bouts of animalistic f ucking in the desert sand, on the rocks, wherever. Constant long shots distance the viewer from what is happening on screen, which adds to the overall feeling of isolation that the film emits. During one of their daily scouting missions in the middle of nowhere they are suddenly rammed from behind by a white pickup truck with blacked out windows, they pull over and 3 men jump from the truck, pull the couple from their Hummer, and start to beat David's head in with a baseball bat. Then while one man holds Katia..s head, forcing her to watch, another of the men brutally rapes David while screaming in orgasmic glee, after he comes, he zips up and the men disappear as quickly as they arrived, leaving the couple in the sand. They go back to their motel room where David sits on the bed completely traumatized. The next morning Katia goes out to get a pizza (?!) and when she comes back David has locked himself in the bathroom, she patiently waits for him to come out. Then suddenly the bathroom door flies open, David bursts out screaming, his head completely shaved and proceeds to viciously stab Katia to death. The final scene of the film is the abandoned Hummer in the middle of the desert, David's dead body beside it and a highway patrol officer on his police radio calling for an ambulance. Twentynine Palms starts off as a cinema verite-style road movie with stunning imagery, stylish camera-work and a slow meditative pace, but after the shocking ''climax'' you are left with one startlingly bleak and nihilistic film. Director Bruno Dumont has said his film has no intent, narrative or message. He as a director is free to express himself on celluloid, and we as spectators are free to take whatever we may from it. The characters are deliberately stripped free of any discernible traits, therefore we cannot identify with them. Instead the focus is on pure sound and image. A fantastic piece of cinematic art. 10/10 Highly recommended.

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