A blistering look at amorous alienation in which scenes of graphic sex underscore the differences between physical and emotional intimacy, Patrice Chéreau’s Intimacy pulsates with desperate, miserable passion. Having up and left his wife and kids, Jay (a magnificent Mark Rylance) spends his nights working as chief bartender at a trendy club and his days lounging about his decrepit apartment. On Wednesday afternoons, however, this monotonous routine is interrupted by a mysterious stranger named Claire (the stunning Kerry Fox) who shows up to screw him without saying a word. Their silent trysts (and one heartbreaking bathroom masturbation scene) are shot by Chéreau with an eye toward the explicit, though the director’s aim isn’t to titillate but to expose how Jay and Claire’s corporeal proximity helps perpetuate their emotional remoteness. Tied to the constraints of traditional narrative, Intimacy eventually has Jay surreptitiously follow Claire in order to find out more about her unknown identity, discovering that she’s a struggling actress (currently toiling away in a lousy production of The Glass Menagerie) with a husband (Timothy Spall) and kid. But whatever truths he learns – and what both eventually discuss once all their cards are laid out on the table – aren't nearly as revelatory as the couple’s preceding stark, rough sexual encounters, in which images of ordinary, unclothed bodies writhing in distressed ecstasy convey a palpable sadness.