Claire Denis Symposium at Reverse Shot


Reverse Shot — a geeky film journal that I recently discovered and have found interesting — has devoted the bulk of issue #25 to a symposium on the influential French director Claire Denis. Fourteen authors take on nine of Denis’ ten features (including two views of Beau Travail), her documentary Vers Mathilde, her early work and music videos, and they even interview her. The editors write:

In visualizing lives on the margins as sensually as another filmmaker might the halls of Versailles or the lights of a shimmering Christmas tree, [Denis] has positioned herself, in our eyes at least, among the first rank of international auteurs. She does something nearly unthinkable in a world cinema scene obsessed with provocateurs like Haneke and Von Trier: she chooses to please rather than pillory her audience, invite into a dialogue around images rather than read sermons from on high. Like her compatriot and contemporary Olivier Assayas, Denis seems to have decided that, in the long, long shadow cast over French cinema by Godard’s early output, the most radical thing to do is not to eschew or batter narrative, but to wrestle with and redefine it, all without losing sight of the essential satisfactions of storytelling. This isn’t to suggest her films are films are easy on the mind, though they are always easy on the eyes. Her camera doesn’t just capture; it caresses. […] Denis’s personal cinema is a product of a kind of seductive minimalism. Her hovering camera, structured ellipses, and sensual employment of music produce a feeling of voluptuous grace hard to shake even when her films turn violent.

The table of contents for the symposium is here; and here’s a link to the Auteurs Daily article that brought this symposium to my attention.

Here’s the actual link.

Jeremy Hatch is a writer, musician, and professional bookseller leading a cheerful, aimless life in San Francisco. He is the Junior Literary Editor of the Rumpus and has a blog which he updates once in a while. More from this author →