Train conductor Lionel (Descas) shares a uniquely simpatico domestic arrangement with his college-age daughter Josephine (Diop) in a multi-cultural neighborhood in Paris. As Josephine waffles between her brooding childhood playmate (Denis regular Colin) and a suitor from school, and Lionel contends with his own romantic complications, they find themselves sorting through a host of confusing, ambiguous emotions, and dealing with the inevitable disruption of their family nest.
Sparse in dialogue but teeming with feeling, French filmmaker Claire Denis spikes every shot in "35 Shots of Rum" with a sensuous twist. Lionel and Josephine's father-daughter relationship carries an ambiguous charge, but never seems indecent, since Denis is more interested in the honest quandaries of familial intimacy than she is in sensationalizing it. Of course it helps that you can't take your eyes off hunky Descas or beguiling newcomer Diop, let alone the dependably soulful Colin. In this uniquely hypnotic film, Denis explores a multicultural side of Paris that American audiences, steeped in clichéd baguettes and berets, rarely get a chance to see.