Twentynine Palms | Chicago Reader

Twentynine Palms

An American who speaks only English (David Wissak) and an eastern European woman who speaks only French (Katia Golubeva) travel to Twentynine Palms, California, and the neighboring Joshua Tree National Park, barely communicating apart from their sexual encounters. Considering how much Bruno Dumont's first two features (The Life of Jesus and L'humanite) were geared to his French hometown, I worried that he would lose his bearings for this foray to the U.S. Like many a European filmmaker before him, he seems transfixed by the landscape, deserts in particular, and his minimal story held me as long as the scenery was allowed to speak more than the characters. Alas, the plot eventually takes over, and it's exceptionally ugly and unpleasant. 119 min.

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