pixel pixel pixel
Film | Claire Denis

|  Carreer Award

Foto Claire Denis Powerful human portraits. Private dramas, collective stories, light touches. She offers a view of a multiethnic, constantly changing world that disturbs and fascinates. Because between observation and narrative, the eye of the camera is both detached and involved. This is Claire Denis’s cinema (Paris, 1948). Loved and acclaimed worldwide, her two most representative films are J’ai pas sommeil (1994) and Nénette and Boni (1996, Golden Leopard at the Locarno Festival).

More than ten feature films, shorts, documentaries and important community projects (Ten Minutes Older: The Cello, 2002) make Claire Denis one of the most important European directors. Her films are vital and problematic, sensory and complex, elusive and sophisticated; a representation by images of passions without words.

Her artistic debut dates back to the ‘80s, when she directed several short films for TV and worked as an assistant to Jim Jarmusch, Wim Wenders, Jacques Rivette and Costa-Gavras. One of her most important works to date is the feature Chocolat (1988), an evocation of her childhood in Cameroon and a film that combines European culture and African traditions; an intense and exciting film that explores everyday life and captivates the audience for the fluidity of the story.

1990 is the year of No Fear, No Fie (S’en fout la mort), the story of the friendship between the African Dah and the Martinican Jocelyn; an explosion of emotions, interracial tensions and family conflicts, a common theme in her art. Her films penetrate under the skin, in a contemporary, yet timeless, anthropological exploration of feelings.

In 1994, Claire Denis, is awarded a prize at the Festival of Turin for U.S. Go Home, an episode of the series Tous les garçon et les filles de leur âge..., produced by ARTE. In the same year she makes J’ai pas sommeil, an urban fresco of three people that lose their way, are excluded from society and immersed in a deafening indifference. A tough Marseilles, imbued with the strong colors of the Mediterranean, is the backdrop for Nénette and Boni (1996), a sensual portrait that examines bodies and faces.

Based on Herman Melville’s novel “Billy Budd” in 1999 she makes Beau travail, a film that sets aside the traditional rules of storytelling and stages a soul drama: the seduction/repulsion relationship between two French legionnaires stationed in the Gulf of Djibouti. Another adaptation from the novel “The Intruder” by Jean-Luc Nancy is the film L’intrus (2004, in competition at the Venice Film Festival): a reflection on identity and non-involvedness, an initiatory journey in search of a painful past, a thriller and a journey between film noir and research cinema (the quotes and the main character Michel Subari go to Reflux, the only film directed by the “cursed” scriptwriter of the Nouvelle Vague, Paul Gégauff).

The reference to the genera were already present in Trouble Every Day (2001, awarded a prize at the Cannes Film Festival), a horror film in which the theme of cannibalism lends itself to a reflection on love that “devours” the soul and flesh and on ghosts that evoke discomfort to be forgotten. At this point, a crucial moment in her film production, she begins to collaborate once again with the Tindersticks, with whom she had worked before on Nénette and Boni. In Vendredi soir (2003) a sudden passion is the subject of a shocking exploration, in a flow of close-up shots, bodies, and silences.

35 Shots of Rum (2008) is the most loved and applauded film at the Venice Film Festival. Presented out of competition, the film is a sort of return to her roots: it is the story of the strong bond between father and daughter after the death of the mother. Loneliness that fills voids, blood ties that are difficult to give up, precarious balances such as those between North and South. Reality opens its doors exposing itself to the viewer.

In White Material (2009), a film based on the novel by Doris Lessing “The Grass Is Singing” and in competition at Venice, childhood memories are once again evoked. The protagonist, Maria (Isabelle Huppert), is a courageous and stubborn woman living in Cameroon, in a world that is falling apart and is torn by post-colonial power; a political and personal resistance that isolates the bodies in the space of a frame, and brings them in touch with Nature.

35 rhums 35 rhums
35 Shots of Rum
Director: Claire Denis
FRANCE, GERMANY, 2008, 105'
Vers: French, German - Sub:ITA
[8 Nov, 21.00 - Villa Medici]
[11 Nov, 18.30 - Palazzo delle Esposizioni (Cinema)]
[13 Nov, 21.00 - Villa Medici]

Lionel should raise only daughter Joséphine after his wife dies in a road accident. Over the years Joséphine grows up and as she becomes adult, she is increasingly fond of her father and starts taking care of him. A strong and intense relationship, upset from a trip and an escape.

Nénette e Boni Nénette et Boni
Nénette e Boni
Director: Claire Denis
FRANCE, 1996, 103', color
Vers: French - Sub:ITA
[10 Nov, 18.00 - Villa Medici]

Teenage siblings Nénette 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 in Marseille, 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.

Vendredi soir Vendredi soir
Friday Night
Director: Claire Denis
FRANCE, 2002, 90', color
Vers: French - Sub:ITA
[9 Nov, 21.00 - Villa Medici]

Paris, 1995. A wave of public transport strikes paralyse the city in November and December. Laure decides to go and stay with her fiancé, François, a doctor. While stuck in traffic, she decides to give a lift to a hitchhiker. They are immediately attracted to each other and decide to spend the night together.


Winners MFF09

  MedFilm Festival Onlus - Via Nizza, 92 - 00198 Rome, Italy - Tel. +39.06.85354814 - Fax +39.06.8844719 -