Mumbai Film Festival Diaries: Rust and Bone

Director: Jacques Audiard

Cast: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts


Mumbai Film Festival’s third evening saw a crammed theatre. The 1,100 (approx) seats at Jamshed Bhabha Theatre had almost reached its capacity as we made our way to the screening. While it can be attributed to the fact that it was a Saturday evening, we think it’s the movie that pulled film enthusiasts out of their homes and make their way to NCPA.


Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os) is a 2012 French drama movie directed by Jacques Audiard. The premise of the film lies in the romance that surges between two characters as they fight their way to overcome the shortcomings in their lives. Rust and Bone is a story of Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) and Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts), who are crippled either physically or emotionally. The story of the film goes beyond plain romance; it traces the lives of a homeless bare-knuckle street boxer and a killer whale trainer, whose spirit is dampened after a freak accident. A friendship born out of the misfortune of the two, it grows into a deep relationship shared by Stephanie and Ali.


Marion’s character as an orca whale trainer is one of the best she has enacted. In a deglamourized role, sans make-up and unkempt hair, Marion convinces the audience of her character’s disability. Losing her legs after the killer whale attacks her during a performance, Stephanie’s confidence is shaken off. The scene where she wakes up in a hospital to realise that she has lost her legs has been intensely shot and enacted. Her brief encounter with Ali before the accident at the club where he worked as a bouncer stirs up an odd friendship between the two that deepens after Stephanie is crippled.


Matthias on the other hand, plays the role of a destitute man, who takes shelter under his sister Anna’s (Corinne Masiero) roof along with his often ignored adorable 5-year old son Sam (Arman Verdure).  While Stephanie recovers from the tragic accident soon and gets back to her life, Ali takes time to get back on his feet.


The film has intense and sometimes even upsetting moments with some excellent shots from Stephane Fontaine’s camera as he rolls out the true emotions that surge in every scene.


Rust and Bone is a film narrating the basic human life that is crippled occasionally through drastic and sometimes even small moments. It is a story of how humans prevail over these setbacks in life and hope for a better future.


To read our review of the 1929 silent movie  A Throw Of Dice, click here.


To know what we thought about the Danish film The Hunt, click here.


- Esha Chanda

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