Claire Denis – L’intrus AKA The Intruder [+Extras] (2004)

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Quote:
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 metaphysical exposition into the mind of an emotionally severe, morally bankrupt, and profoundly isolated heart transplant patient named Louis (Michel Subor). Idiosyncratically unfolding in elliptical, often reverse chronology (with respect to the heart surgery) through the lugubriously fluid intertwining of Louis’ alienated existence and deeply tormented subconscious, the film is a fragmented and maddeningly opaque daydream (or perhaps more appropriately, a haunted nightmare) of the price exacted by his disreputable past, estranged relationships, hedonism, and instinctual quest for survival: his inability to reconcile with his only son and his family; his sexually motivated, yet emotionally distant relationship with a materialistic pharmacist; his dubious, transcontinental past (a suppressed history that may have included murder). Perpetually followed by a beautiful, enigmatic sentinel (Katia Golubeva) – or conscience – who seems to have been instrumental in obtaining his new heart, what emerges is an indelible, elegiac, and poetically abstract dreamscape through the wondrous, alien terrain of unreconciled (and irreconcilable) personal history, unrequited longing, and haunted memory. Continue reading

Claire Denis – S’en fout la mort AKA No Fear, No Die (1990)

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Quote:
On desolate road near the Spanish-French border, a pensive African immigrant from Benin, Dah (Isaach De Bankolé), waits in the darkness for a poultry truck to arrive for an appointed evening rendezvous. Aboard is an old friend, Jocelyn (Alex Descas) who has recruited him to act as an intermediary and handle the business affairs of his entered partnership with an unscrupulous French restaurateur named Ardennes (Jean-Claude Brialy) and his son, Michel (Christopher Buchholz) to smuggle fight-bred roosters into the country for his plans to operate an illegal discotheque and cockfighting arena out of a condemned business property. Ardennes provides Dah and Jocelyn with a spare room in the basement of a bar operated by his beautiful lover, Toni (Solveig Dommartin), in order to covertly train the cocks in preparation for the club’s opening. Jocelyn is a meticulous trainer: prescribing a stringently measured formula diet; conducting repeated exercises to promote strength, speed, and dexterity; subjecting the animals to loud, fast-paced urban music in order to stimulate aggression. One day, Toni intrudes on the training regimen in order to complain of the music volume, but is summarily ignored by Jocelyn and Dah. Jocelyn believes that Toni’s presence is detrimental to the training of the roosters, and warns Dah to maintain distance. Nevertheless, despite the note of caution, the seemingly innocuous episode would prove to the first of many unannounced and ambiguously motivated visits by the inscrutable and alluring Toni, as the two friends soon find themselves struggling to maintain their focus on their lucrative enterprise. Continue reading

Claire Denis – Vers Mathilde (2005)

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Vers Mathilde (Towards Mathilde)
France | 2005 | 84mins | col | dir. Claire Denis, with Mathilde Monnier

Mathilde Monnier is more than France’s foremost contemporary choregrapher. An explorer of the thorny fields of post-modern theory she has acquired a reputation as a kinetic investigator par excellence. More than just a documentary, this parallel triggered between Claire Denis’s work explores the birth, formulation and performance of a radical new dance piece. Continue reading

Claire Denis – Nenette et Boni (1996)

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Teenage siblings Nenette and Boni were raised apart as a result of their parents’ divorce. Their mother, who doted on her son Boni, has died. He works for an interesting couple as a pizza baker, and is surprised and enraged when his younger sister, having run away from boarding school, suddenly turns up. There’s a problem that they must confront. Continue reading

Claire Denis – Les salauds aka Bastards (2013)

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Plot / Synopsis
Supertanker captain Marco Silvestri is called back urgently to Paris. His sister Sandra is desperate – her husband has committed suicide, the family business has gone under, her daughter is spiralling downwards. Sandra holds powerful businessman Edouard Laporte responsible. Marco moves into the building where Laporte has installed his mistress and her son. But he hasn’t planned for Sandra’s secrets, which muddy the waters… Continue reading

Claire Denis – Chocolat (1988)

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IMDB:
A young French woman returns to the vast silence of West Africa to contemplate her childhood days in a colonial outpost in Cameroon. Her strongest memories are of the family’s houseboy, Protee – a man of great nobility, intelligence and beauty – and the intricate nature of relationships in a racist society. Continue reading