Love! It can be interpreted in so many ways that I can hardly come up with at least one decent example to justify such a powerful tool that can bring peace to any heart that lacks happiness. But somehow it all make sense with Claire Denis’ “Let the Sunshine In” based on Roland Barthes’ original book. Denis takes love and simply juggles with it like a skilful athlete but using the most important craft – cinema. But when you cast Juliette Binoche as the lead, then there is no way but to simply relax and enjoy the masterpiece called “Let the Sunshine In”. Because what it has to offer is mature and never ageing concept of the most important desire any human being would always want to have – to be loved at last.
Isabelle, a Parisian artist, has no issues with men. It seems she can have anyone her heart wishes but never feels completely happy. It is understandable as the woman in search of real love from the men in her life are not capable of giving that to her. But as she dives deep into what she wants – her expectation from relationship and how to experience true love, Isabelle continues pushing harder towards something she may never get the chance to have.
Binoche’s Isabelle says: “It’s so unbearable to be a backstreet lover. I need real love” with a plea she continues. And during the opening scene, when she makes love with Vincent Briot, the banker, you can tell by watching her that the man she shares the same bed with is losing her without even realizing it. That’s when we find Isabelle already tired of meaningless and endless relationships that does not bring her complete satisfaction. When, for instance, she meets an actor, she is ready to fall in love with him, but her impatience and his ability to control his temper in front of attractive Isabelle brings both of them to question – why to rush something that’s never meant to happen. Or maybe it is better to take it easy and develop the relationship one step at a time.
It’s again Isabelle who is hungry for love. In fact she is starving almost to death. But that is the beauty of “Let the Sunshine In” when one woman or even a man searches for something that has always been around, they just have no clue how to touch that. The closing scene with Juliette Binoche and Gérard Depardieu is one of the most beautifully shot long dialogue, when the discussion of life, age, man and woman, and how to enjoy freedom has been explored like never before. And when the camera patiently holds on to Juliette Binoche, you see the performance she delivers was not just for Isabelle, but for every other woman out there at any age who is in search of the same thing – to be able to reach that age to be able to fall deeply in love and never recover from this wonderful feeling.
In conclusion, “Let the Sunshine In” is an absolute delight to watch. Astounding direction, strong performances, dialogues, music, and in fact the entire film is a lost and found treasure that must be held as a last chance of humanity to survive. It’s not only intelligent, it’s made for both men and women – it explores the loneliness, love, dissatisfaction and freedom sometimes we don’t know how to use wisely. Indeed it’s an educational film to watch, important and cannot be missed, but it is also a genuine and deeply sophisticated piece of art delivered by the greatest masters – Denis/Binoche.