Claire Denis

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DarkImbecile
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Claire Denis

#1 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:18 am

Claire Denis (1948 - )

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"I'm not at all interested in theories about cinema. I am only interested in images and people and sound. I am really a very simple person."

Filmography
Features
Chocolat (1988)
Man No Run [documentary] (1989)
S'en fout la mort / No Fear, No Die (1990)
Jacques Rivette, le veilleur / Jacques Rivette, the Watchman [documentary] (1990)
J'ai pas sommeil / I Can't Sleep (1994)
Nénette et Boni / Nenette and Boni (1996)
Beau travail / Good Work (1999)
Trouble Every Day (2001)
Vendredi soir / Friday Night (2002)
L'intrus / The Intruder (2004)
Vers Mathilde / Towards Mathilde [documentary] (2005)
35 rhums / 35 Shots of Rum (2008)
White Material (2009)
Les Salauds / Bastards (2013)
Un beau soleil interieur / Let the Sunshine In (2018)
High Life (2019)

Shorts
"Le 15 Mai" (1969)
"Keep It for Yourself" (1991)
"Pour Ushari Ahmed Mohmoud, Soudan" [segment, Contre l'oubli / Against Oblivion] (1991)
"Boom-Boom" (1994)
"Nice, Very Nice" [segment, À propos de Nice, la suite] (1995)
"Vers Nancy" / "Towards Nancy" [segment, Ten Minutes Older: The Cello] (2002)
"To the Devil" (2011)
"Claire Denis" [segment, Venezia 70 - Future Reloaded] (2013)
"Voilà l'enchaînement" (2014)

Television
Monologues -S?E? - "La robe a cerceau" (1993)
Tous les garcons et les filles de leur age... / US Go Home (1994)
The Breidjing Camp [documentary] (2015)

Books
Claire Denis by Martine Beugnet (2004)
Claire Denis by Judith Mayne (2005)
The Films of Claire Denis: Intimacy on the Border by Marjorie Vecchio, ed. (foreword by Wim Wenders) (2014)

Forum Resources
Claire Denis on DVD
Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999)
L' Intrus / The Intruder (Claire Denis, 2004)
560 White Material
Bastards (Claire Denis, 2013)
Forthcoming: Un beau soleil intérieur
High Life (Claire Denis, 2019)

Web Resources
Senses of Cinema profile with links to articles and interviews
2000 interview with Jonathan Romney, The Guardian
2004 interview with Robert Davis, Errata
2006 interview with Gavin Smith, Film Comment
2006 interview with Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly
2010 interview with Andrew Hussey, The Guardian
2013 interview with Jose Teodoro, Cinema Scope
2013 interview with Nick Pinkerton, Film Comment
2013 video interview (nearly two hours) with Eric Hynes, Walker Art Center
2013 interview with Paul Dallas, Interview Magazine
2018 interview with Yonca Talu, Film Comment
"The Fearless Cinema of Claire Denis" by Alice Gregory, The New Yorker (2018)
2018 interview with Sophie Monks Kaufman, Little White Lies
2019 Masterclass at the Rotterdam International Film Festival
2019 interview with Elana Lazic, BFI
Last edited by Scharphedin2 on Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:56 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Scharphedin2
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#2 Post by Scharphedin2 » Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:50 am

Prompted by the enthusiasm at the initial release of Beau Travail, I went to see the film, when it was first released in theatres. I remember thinking that the film was good, but maybe just short of being as good as some critics had made it sound.

I did not see any other of Denis' films until this past week, when a friend in the forum suggested that I do so, and I have been more and more impressed with each film (Chocolat, Trouble Every Day, Vendredi Soir and L'Intrus).

Visually, these are amongst the most impressive films that I have seen from the past couple of decades. Denis' long collaboration with cinematographer Agnes Godard manifests itself in truly beautiful images from the very beginning, but by the time they made L'Intrus, they seemed to have arrived at an understanding that literally goes beyond words.

In addition to the formal brilliance of Denis' films, they are wonderful for their "travelling" nature. Whether they take us to Cameroon or North Africa, to the South Pacific Islands, from one city block in Paris to the next, or through the geographically warped landscape of one man's memories, there is always this beautiful detailed sense of discovery of the locales. And, finally, Denis' people are authentic. Few modern directors are able to capture the emotional charges between people like Denis; her treatment of lovers in particular felt very real and intuitive to me. This quality made her foray into the grand guignol of Trouble Every Day so much more haunting.

Only after compiling the links and information for this thread did I realise that Claire Denis has been much discussed in the forum in the past. So, I post this, knowing that a number of very good threads already exist, but hopefully this thread can at least be a resource for available films on DVD and links to external interviews and articles, of which there are several interesting ones.

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zedz
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#3 Post by zedz » Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:47 pm

Thanks for the entry and appreciation, Scharphedin. Denis is in my opinion one of the greatest living filmmakers, and the wonderful alchemy of her collaboration with Godard (and editor Nelly Quettier, who's also done wonders with Carax) is a key to this.

Slight correction to the filmography: US Go Home is a (shortish) feature, not just a TV episode. It belongs to the same 'series' as Techine's Wild Reeds, Assayas L'eau froide, Akerman's Portrait d'une jeune fille de la fin des annees 60s a Bruxelles and several others. IMDB seems to treat every film in this series differently (and there's also an entry for the series itself, clocking in at 61 minutes, which must mean that each film in it was cut down to five minutes!), but they all had individual festival screenings at the time. Each director had to set their film in the year they were a specific age (16?) and had to follow other 'rules' (e.g. a hit song from the year had to feature prominently, there had to be a party scene). This practice has become a bit more common in recent years (e.g. that pre-millenial series that gave us The Hole and The Book of Life, the New Crowned Hope films) and imdb seems to cope a little better now!

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zedz
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Re: Claire Denis

#4 Post by zedz » Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:52 pm

Here's an interesting tidbit regarding Trouble Every Day that I picked up from Assayas' commentary on the new edition of Irma Vep (a great discussion, by the way, though not a commentary - it's a couple of wide-ranging Q & As that only approximately match the length of the feature and the behind-the-scenes featurette they accompany and align with what's on screen not a whit).

Apparently, Trouble Every Day and Irma Vep are estranged sister films, having been originally conceived as episodes in a three-part portmanteau film. The linking theme was 'foreign woman in Paris' (which could just as well have applied to J'ai pas sommeil). Assayas didn't say anything about vampires, so that similarity between the films might be entirely coincidental.

This back-story also accounts for the presence of Arsinee Khanjian in Irma Vep, as Atom Egoyan was the third filmmaker involved in the aborted project. The two extant films also share Alex Descas, but that's probably just another coincidence, since he's about as much an axiom of Assayas' cinema as Denis'. Still, I think this might have been his first film for Assayas, so his casting may well have been intended as just as much a nod to Denis as Khanjian's was to Egoyan.

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Jeff
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Re: Claire Denis

#5 Post by Jeff » Mon Jun 29, 2015 10:56 am


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swo17
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Re: Claire Denis

#6 Post by swo17 » Mon Jun 29, 2015 11:06 am

What next, a vampire movie?

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Lost Highway
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Re: Claire Denis

#7 Post by Lost Highway » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:15 am

swo17 wrote:What next, a vampire movie?
She's already done that.

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domino harvey
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Re: Claire Denis

#8 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:02 am

SpoilerShow
Image

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Lost Highway
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Re: Claire Denis

#9 Post by Lost Highway » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:10 am

I'm German, we only understand fart jokes. :(

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zedz
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Re: Claire Denis

#10 Post by zedz » Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:11 pm

Lost Highway wrote:I'm German, we only understand fart jokes. :(
Tragically, she missed her golden opportunity to squeeze out a few fart jokes in her Ozu tribute 35 Rhums.

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Jeff
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Re: Claire Denis

#11 Post by Jeff » Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:01 pm

Robert Pattinson, Patricia Arquette, and Mia Goth Star. It's about "a group of skilled criminals who, in a bid to escape their long sentences or capital punishment, accept a likely-fatal government space mission to find alternative energy sources." Shooting begins in early 2016.

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knives
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Re: Claire Denis

#12 Post by knives » Mon Oct 26, 2015 4:36 pm

She's directing the Suicide Squad sequel?

beamish13
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Re: Claire Denis

#13 Post by beamish13 » Mon Oct 26, 2015 5:02 pm

New 35mm print of CHOCOLAT is playing across North America

George Drooly
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Re: Claire Denis

#14 Post by George Drooly » Mon Oct 26, 2015 7:49 pm

I suppose we shouldn't clutter this thread with wishlists and speculation, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD where is Beau Travail on Blu already?

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DeprongMori
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Re: Claire Denis

#15 Post by DeprongMori » Sun May 15, 2016 3:46 pm

New 35mm print of CHOCOLAT is playing across North America.
Just watched the OOP non-anamorphic MGM DVD of this again last night. Reports are that the Artificial Eye DVD is worse, but anamorphic at least. This fine film desperately needs a BluRay release. Hoping it comes from Criterion.

Disappointed I missed the recent screening tour.

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Re: Claire Denis

#16 Post by dda1996a » Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:00 am

Having going through her filmography the past week and a half, I have to say that she really is amongst the greatest current working directors, and I don't really get the "Dull and boring" tag that has been attached to her, except for L'Intrus that I simply disliked. I see this forum has been active for a long time (with the exception of High Life) so I am interested in people talking about her.
My current ranking goes something like:
1. Trouble Every Day
- Friday Night
- U.S Go Home
- Beau Travail
5. I Can't Sleep
6. No Fear, No Die
7. Chocolat
8. Nenette et Boni
9. L'Intrus
I have Mathilde and 35 Rhums lined up to watch in the coming days as well.

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swo17
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Re: Claire Denis

#17 Post by swo17 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:18 am

Ha, your bottom two are my two favorites!

dda1996a
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Re: Claire Denis

#18 Post by dda1996a » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:32 pm

Would love to hear your thoughts because I found them utterly tedious (U.S Go Home does the sister-brother relationship so much better in my eyes). On the other hand those top four are absolutely amazing in my eyes and am surprised to see how little the top three are talked about, both in Denis' career and in general.

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swo17
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Re: Claire Denis

#19 Post by swo17 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:41 pm

It's really just an ineffable aesthetic preference that came from repeated viewings. I too found L'intrus impenetrable on first viewing.

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Re: Claire Denis

#20 Post by kubelkind » Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:03 pm

I put off watching her films for years as I thought "she did that Chocolat film and I thought that was terrible"...of course it was the OTHER Chocolat I saw...duh.
Gave "Bastards" a try a few years ago and was thoroughly impressed. Now its actually one of my least favourites, but at the time I hadn't seen anything like it. Now she's an absolute favourite.
Yes, L'Intrus is easily the most difficult film, but I get the feeling that it'll be the one I'll get the most out of over the years to come, as it endlessly rewards rewatches. Maybe best to see it initially as more of a meditation on different forms of intrusion/transplantation rather than trying the deduce the "plot", which may be a thankless exercise. Also
SpoilerShow
the Michel Subor character may even be dead before the story starts. What do we think?

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Re: Claire Denis

#21 Post by dda1996a » Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:25 pm

swo17 wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:41 pm
It's really just an ineffable aesthetic preference that came from repeated viewings. I too found L'intrus impenetrable on first viewing.
So it's just it's aesthetic that tipps it over her others?
Thing is I don't have a problem with dream imagery, and I love Beau Travail, but once he goes off to Korea I completely lost interest in anything, and the last third of the film is even more silly for me. I liked this insinuating dream logic way better in Friday Night/Beau Travail. Didn't really make me interested in rewatching it as well so that's why I'm interested in hearing people's thoughts.

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Re: Claire Denis

#22 Post by John Cope » Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:34 pm

I agree with what kubelkind said above about L'Intrus, which is also among my own favorite (though it's unlikely anything will ever unseat Beau Travail which is just so perfect), a total hypnotic trance for those thus inclined. What really intrigues me about audience reactions to Denis is that they are just so dispersed and there seems to be such a lack of consensus, which may have to do with the variety of her own work and what is emphasized. For instance, I love Trouble Every Day too (and would attribute its comparative lack of discussion to its relative unavailability) but I don't like Friday Night much and I think I Can't Sleep and 35 Shots are profoundly overrated (I'd place Chocolat and No Fear, No Die far above either of them in my own ranking).

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DeprongMori
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Re: Claire Denis

#23 Post by DeprongMori » Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:33 am

Re: Trouble Every Day, it’s been available for free streaming as part of Amazon Prime for at least a year, so it is pretty readily available.

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Re: Claire Denis

#24 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:40 pm

Trouble Every Day is thankfully pretty easy to come by now and has even had a bunch of 35mm screenings over the past few years, but it was MIA in the U.S. between its theatrical release (via the short-lived Lot 47 Films) and the Kimstim/Oscilloscope DVD in 2014. The only way for Americans to see it in the interim was through backchannels, an imported DVD, or infrequent screenings like the IFC Center's Denis retro in 2010.
Last edited by The Fanciful Norwegian on Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Claire Denis

#25 Post by kubelkind » Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:44 pm

How does the amazon version of Trouble... look, by the way? The version that appeared on Mubi last year looked marginally better than the Tartan DVD (which is pretty bad - some pressings even come without English subtitles for the French dialogue, making an already fairly opaque film incomprehensible). Need some more Denis on blu ray! Quite a few of her documentaries and short films have never had a home video release and don't even show up on back channels.
Trouble... has a minor cult following but I suspect it was always too "art" for the horror crowd and too horrific for the art crowd really. I think the same fate might befall High Life when it gets a wider release. Neither film exactly skimps on the mayhem, blood and body fluids, which impressed me (most auteurs seem to dip their toes in genre in a too "tasteful" manner for me maybe?) but obviously repulsed a lot of the audience.
Was lucky enough to catch High Life when we were in Paris last year. Great of course, but I have to confess to missing Alex Descas and other familar faces.

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