It had been awhile since I had seen a foreign-language film, it was time to fix that!
In Rust & Bone, Ali (Matthias Schoenarts) is a Belgian father moving to Antibes, France to be closer to family and provide a better life for his son. He gets a job as a bouncer, where he meets Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard); he takes her home after she gets into a fight with other club patrons. He leaves her his number, just in case, and gets back to his job. A few months later, Stéphanie, who is a killer whale trainer, suffers a terrible accident resulting in the loss of both her legs below the knees. Feeling alone, Stéphanie decides to give Ali a call. They begin spending time together, which, at first consists of platonic trips to the beach. Over time, the relationship becomes sexual and she becomes a greater part of his life by participating as a spectator, then manager, of his sport fighting hobby. Ali's volatility and the nature of one of the odd jobs he has picked up drives a wedge between him and his family; he leaves all behind, including Stéphanie and his son, for a training camp in the north of France, calling into question the future of their relationship.
While I think that this film (French title: De Rouille et d'os) was excellent, the characters both enthralled and frustrated me. Ali, while a main protagonist, had a violence that terrified me. He was abusive towards his son and dismissive towards almost everyone in his life. Stéphanie was a much more sympathetic character and I wanted her to get what she wanted, which was Ali, but I didn't feel that Ali deserved her. Despite this, the acting was great; I've loved everything I've seen Marion in and Matthias was new to me, but amazing in this role. Despite my feelings about some of the characters, I did feel that the film was excellent and was one of my favorites to see in the past few months.
Django Django - "Fierewater"
Lykke Li - "I Follow Rivers"
Bon Iver - "The Wolves (Act I and Act II)"