No Fear, No Die

S’en fout la mort is the French title of this grim little feature (1990) by Claire Denis (Chocolat). It’s the name given to one of the fighting cocks owned by two men; one (Alex Descas), from the West Indies, trains them, the other (Isaach de Bankole), from Africa, takes care of business and narrates this story about their deal with a restaurant owner (Jean-Claude Brialy) outside Paris to stage a series of pit duels. We follow the training, the matches, and the trainer’s despondency and drinking after the restaurant owner insists on giving the birds metal spurs. This is basically a noirish B-film with fine, underplayed performances by the two leads (Bankole, who played in Chocolat and Night on Earth, is especially good) and a sordid, depressing milieu; Solveig Dommartin (Wings of Desire) costars. (JR)

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