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France, 1989 (MIFF 2000, Written on the Skin – The Films of Claire Denis)

Director: Claire Denis

For her second feature film, Denis departed from the meditative tone of her debut, and plunged instead into the noise and energy of a band on the road. Acclaimed Cameroonian act Les Têtes Brulées (The Burning Heads) were embarking upon their debut tour of France, and her decision to join them, and document their experiences, resulted in one of the most vivid portraits of a musical group ever commited to film. Denis met co-scenarist and bandleader Jean-Mane Ahanda while filming Chocolat in his homeland, and was intrigued by the passion and complexity of his music.

African musicians say that they start with traditional music and then modernize it," he explains at one point. In fact they only combine modern techniques with traditional beginnings. We, however, combine city and village."

One could say much the same of Denis herself. Coming as it did on the heels of Chocolat's international art-house success, the film's very existence attests to its maker's commitment to cross-cultural representation on the screen, and is at once the most distinctive and the least-seen film of her early career. (The title, incidentally, is pidgin English for Don't go; Stay With Us Until the Morning.)

See also...

Intruder, the

France, 2004
Claire Denis' Golden Lion-nominated [The Intruder] distils the visual and aural economy she achieved in her much acclaimed [Beau Travail] (MIFF 00). Through an evocative, dreamlike visual code and an… More »


France, 2008
“Smoother than the finest liquor, reminds viewers how rarely movies capture the easygoing love embodied in a functional family, with all its support and tenderness.” - Variety ... Claire Denis (B… More »


France, 2008
“A bold, very carnal take on adolescent female bonding.” - Variety ... In 1942 in Tunisia, two teenage girls struggle to hold their friendship together in the face of cultural differences and eme… More »

In Conversation with Claire Denis

Philippa Hawker, senior film writer for The Age, talks with French director Claire Denis (Beau travail, MIFF 00; Trouble Every Day, MIFF 03) about her approach to filmmaking, and about her new film 3… More »


France, 1994
Director Claire Denis' (Chocolat 1988) contri­bution to the series Tons les Garcons et les Filles de Leur age brings both toughness and ten­derness to the potentially touchy scenario of three… More »

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