The Fearless Cinema of Claire Denis

Alice Gregory at The New Yorker:

Denis’s films are filled with lush scenes of the natural world—African deserts, snowy Alpine fields, and the mineral-green waters of the South Pacific—and characters who tend to reveal themselves not through dialogue but through how they move and look. Alex Descas, one of the actors with whom Denis has worked longest, and who credits her with writing complicated, realistic roles for black actors at a time when few others did, described her artistic mode succinctly: “Film is not theatre,” he told me. Last month, at a screening of her latest movie, “Let the Sunshine In,” at the IFC Center, in Manhattan, Denis said, “I once read that I like to film bodies. No! But, if you choose someone, that person hasa body. They have feet, hands, hair, breasts, ass—all of that is part of what is important.” The film stars Juliette Binoche, as a divorced painter who dates men she shouldn’t: a married banker, a narcissistic actor, a standoffish curator. “She wanted my character to be beautiful and desirable and luminous,” Binoche told me. In the final shot, the camera—which one critic described as “smitten”—stays on her smiling face, which is ablaze with delusion and hope. Denis, according to Binoche, “works like a portrait painter.”

more here.

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