Claire Denis by Judith Mayne

Claire Denis’ personal history as the oldest child of a colonial official stationed throughout outposts in French equatorial Africa is a biographical detail that is often only referenced within the context of her debut feature, Chocolat – a domestic situation that mirrored the filmmaker’s young life (that, as author Judith Mayne accurately points out, often […]

White Material, 2009

A textured panorama of modern day Africa’s dynamic and volatile cross-cultural landscape, Claire Denis’s White Material is an abstract and elemental, if oddly sterile rumination on colonial legacy and socioeconomic stagnation. Unfolding in episodic flashbacks as second-generation coffee plantation owner, Maria Vial (Isabelle Huppert) scrambles to make her way back home after a forced evacuation […]

L’Intrus, 2004

L’Intrus opens to a shot of the Franco-Swiss border as a border guard performs a customs check and inspection of a random vehicle with the aid of a contraband-sniffing dog. The seemingly mundane image of frontier, wilderness, and deception provides a curiously appropriate introduction into the Claire Denis’ impenetrably fractured, enigmatically allusive, otherworldy, and indelible […]

Ten Minutes Older: The Cello

Histoire d’eaux (Bernardo Bertolucci) A whimsical, cross-cultural melding of east meets west romantic comedy presented in highly fractured (if unremarkable) ellipses that chronicle the couple’s chance encounter, marriage, extramarital temptation, and bizarre separation.   About Time 2 (Mike Figgis) Multichannel split screening in the vein of Timecode, sometimes converging towards the encounter, other times intersecting […]

I Can’t Sleep, 1994

On her way to Paris, an attractive, young Lithuanian woman named Daiga (Yekaterina Golubeva) scans through the local radio stations in search of ambient driving music, distractedly tuning in on a trivialized, inappropriately jovial news broadcast of the latest victim of the elusive “granny killer”, before resuming the station’s youthful, upbeat music programming. The film […]