A new highpoint by Claire Denis based on her Beau travail, with beautiful shots and a wayward narration. A man is on the waiting list for a heart transplant and looking for his long-lost Tahitian son.
Telling a story in pictures and sound, without a conventional narrative structure: with this guiding principle, Claire Denis continues her quest for a pure film language. Denis goes a step further in L’intrus with this approach that she previously adopted in Beau travail. The film was inspired by the book by the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy from 2000. Another source was In the South Seas (1896) by Robert Louis Stevenson, about the islands in the Pacific Ocean. A Frenchman (Michel Subor, the commander in Beau travail) takes out a large amount of money from a Swiss bank account for his heart transplant. After the operation, he travels on to South Korea (where we see in a guest role Kim Dong-Ho, director of the Pusan International Film Festival), to discuss his plans for the construction of his dreamboat. Then the protagonist continues on his journey to Tahiti to find a long-lost son there. L’intrus is a personal film you can identify with about someone who wants to start a new, freer and more beautiful life with a new heart. A world voyage and inner quest, with the appealing cinemascope language of Denis’ regular partner Agnès Godard. –IFFR
A provocative director whose films offer richly textured, contemplative examinations of cross-cultural tensions and alienation, Claire Denis is one of French cinema’s most distinctive and humanistic storytellers. A prolific filmmaker who is more concerned with the drive of her characters rather than the plot that weaves them together, she has been dubbed by one critic as one of the only current French directors who “has been able to reconcile the lyricism of French cinema with the impulse to capture the often harsh face of contemporary France.”
Born in Paris on April 21, 1948, Denis, the daughter of a civil servant, was raised in a series of African countries until she was 14, when her family returned to France. She learned about filmmaking as an assistant to a number of notable directors, including Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire), Jim Jarmusch (Down by Law), and Costa-Gavras (Hanna K.). She made her directorial and screenwriting debut in 1988 with Chocolat, a lush exploration… read more
There is a shot in this film that is almost identical to a shot in Hutton's At Sea, and it suddenly made imagine that Denis and Hutton could have been shooting at the same time. The two films couldn't be more different, yet they both seem to put me in the same space: an open plane in which allows ideas to emerge, in which active viewing becomes part of the creative process.
A reviewer for The Guardian wrote :" I’m still scratching my head over this one, but the itch is mostly pleasant." It perfectly describes my feelings for the film.
A film of seemingly unfathomable depths. Where those depths lead, however, I can't claim to know or guess with any great certainty. L'Intrus hangs in the air like a phantom of the bodily present, haunting what may be the past or what may not be at all, but which seems to be the elements of its own constitution. Denis has drawn out something special in this film.
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Claire Denis' cinema of elision typically works around an event, or an issue, to best conjure a concept or a tone or a metaphor or a theme