Claire Denis: Trouble Every Day

JUNE 6-25


7:00pm - Doors
8:00pm - 35 rhums with Intro by Allison Collins

“Bold, sensual, and frequently controversial, the cinema of celebrated French auteur Claire Denis is one of defiant individualism.”

“There’s no better filmmaker working in the world right now.”

French filmmaker Claire Denis (b. 1946) is among the greatest practicing artists in the world today, to say nothing (and everything) of her import to the seventh art alone. Across her thirty-year career, the inimitable auteur has made a name for herself as a high-minded, philosophical, and extraordinarily ciné-literate film thinker who reifies challenging ideas in purely, powerfully cinematic terms. Her oeuvre, peppered with at least a masterpiece per decade (probably more), is one of contemporary cinema’s most mercurial, yet is also undeniably cohesive. She has a penchant for choosing formulaic film genres to frame her (sometimes barely there) stories — family melodrama (35 rhums), B-movie horror (Trouble Every Day), noir thriller (Bastards), deep space sci-fi (High Life), and so on — only to explode and subsume them into her singular, uniquely Denisian sensibilities. Narratively elliptical, formally experimental, and, when called for, defiantly transgressive, these works tend to circle and re-circle insoluble questions around race, displacement, estrangement, and the terrifying Otherness of one’s self. (Denis was raised in colonial West Africa, and many of her themes feel tethered to that conflicted history.)

“Denis, in a filmography defined by restless fracturing and reconfiguring, has been making some of the most outrageous and essential narrative cinema.”

Featuring five imported 35mm prints on loan from the Institut Français in Paris, this select Claire Denis retrospective is the largest presented by The Cinematheque to date. Its eight feature films — indelible works of art, all — provide a decades-long survey of the French master’s esteemed and, at times, controversial career, from her semi-autobiographical 1988 debut Chocolat to her 2017 romantic roundelay Let the Sunshine In.

Note: Denis’s most revered masterpiece, Beau travail, was unavailable for this series, as a restoration and re-release are pending.

Acknowledgements: The Cinematheque is grateful to Amélie Garin-Davet, French Embassy and Cultural Services in New York, for her assistance in making this retrospective possible.

Banner image: © Antonio Olmos


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Recent Showings

IMPORTED 35mm PRINT! Denis’s subtle, lyrical film is a tender and profoundly moving father-daughter drama in tribute to Yasujirō Ozu.
Claire Denis's evocative, semi-autobiographical debut feature brought her to international attention when it premiered at Cannes.
IMPORTED 35mm PRINT! The true-crime case of the “Granny Killer” inspired Claire Denis’s moody, mysterious third feature.
Claire Denis plumbs new depths of darkness in this polarizing 2013 neo-noir thriller, inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s own noir transplant The Bad Sleep Well.
IMPORTED 35mm PRINT! Claire Denis’s most abstract film is an improbable adaptation of a memoir/treatise by philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy.
IMPORTED 35mm PRINT! Denis returned to her conflicted West African roots to stage this incendiary study of postcolonial insurrection.
Juliette Binoche is a Parisian divorcée negotiating the emotional hazards of middle-aged dating in Denis's delightfully deconstructed romantic comedy.
IMPORTED 35mm PRINT! Denis’s polarizing erotic shocker scandalized Cannes and stands as a defining work of New French Extremity.