Synopsis by Josh Ralske
A couple drives their Humvee into the California desert. David (David Wissak) is ostensibly working, scouting locations near Twentynine Palms for a photo or film shoot. His girlfriend, Katia (Katia Golubeva from Leos Carax's Pola X), is along for the ride. David is American; Katia is French and speaks little English. The couple travels through the desert, meandering through the vast, empty landscape. They argue. They make love. Writer/director Bruno Dumont (whose previous film, L'Humanité won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival) uses long takes and an elliptical structure to frame the action as these two characters struggle to communicate while traversing the long, dusty roads. The trip includes a stop for Chinese food, a brief encounter with a belligerent motorist, an argument over ice cream, a painful run-in with a three-legged dog, and a huge argument in the middle of the night, during which the two come to blows. Katia and David reach an uneasy reconciliation, but their strained, though passionate, relationship, is pushed to the breaking point when a terrible, traumatic incident unexpectedly occurs on the road. But the ultimate horror of their little excursion is yet to come. Twentynine Palms was shown at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival, and was shown by the Lincoln Center Film Society in 2004 as part of their annual Rendez-vous With French Cinema.
American [nationality], argument, couple, desert, French [nationality], road-trip, trauma