Claire Denis. The Act of Directing. 2011 Claire Denis, filmmaker and director talking about her film making process and technique. In this lecture Claire Denis discusses some of the technical aspects of her work, working with HD vs. 35 mm film, Super 35 mm and CinemaScope, the depth of field and composition of shots, the differences between digital and screening films in the theater in relation to rehearsing, her film “35 Shots of Rum,” slavery, colonialism, France, hair as a racial and political signifier focusing on narrative and non-narrative film making. This is the fifth lecture of Professor Denis’s 2011 course on her work. Public lecture open for the students and faculty of the European Graduate School EGS Media and Communication Studies department program Saas-Fee Switzerland Europe. 2011. Claire Denis.

Claire Denis (born in 1948, Paris, France) is an award-winning filmmaker and professor of film at the European Graduate School. Denis is recognized as one of the preeminent voices in contemporary European cinema. The themes of post-colonialism, its despondency and malaise, first exposed in her debut film, Chocolat (1988), have shadowed her career. In her later work Denis reveals the incomprehensibility and tragedy that underlie, and perhaps support, the calm surface we restrict our attention to. Denis exposes the exceptions, conflicts, and unforeseen and unaccountable intrusions that weave through the fabric of our skin, and the spaces holding us together, in a manner indisputably pronounced uncanny. The settings and plots of Trouble Every Day (2001), Nenette and Boni (1996), No Fear, No Die (1990), Good Work (1999) and White Material (2009) vary widely, but the concept of the almost symbiotic dependency between individuals and their environment is rightly unwavering, and reveals the ignored and yet unfathomable tension this forces on relations, decisions, and actions. Her work does justice to cinema’s claim as cultural anthropology. Denis’ films expose the incomprehensible which always lies in the background, and only reveals itself to the unassuming in spectacular moments. Her narratives carry a fate which always whispers ‘not yet’, only to explode in a moment as ‘always already’.

Claire Denis is the director of feature films: Chocolat/Chocolate (1988), S’en fout le mort/No Fear, No Die (1990), J’ai pas sommeil/I Can’t Sleep (1994), Nenette et Boni/Nenette and Boni (1996), Beau travail/Good Work (1999), Trouble Every Day (2001), Vendredi soir/Friday Night (2002), L’intrus/The Intruder (2004), 35 rhums/35 Shots of Rum (2008), White Material (2009); short films: Keep it for Yourself (1991), Contre l’oubli/ Against Oblivion (1991), Boom-Boom (1994), Tous les garcons et les filles de leur Age/All the Boys and the Girls of Their Age (1994), A propos de nice, la suite (1995), Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (2002), To the Devil (2011); and documentaries: Man no Run (1989), Jacques Rivette, le veilleur/ Jacques Rivette, the Watchman (1990), Vers Mathilde/Towards Mathilde (2005).



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