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Written on the Skin – The Films of Claire Denis

Arguably Denis' greatest film to date, Beau Travail is by any standard a magisterial piece of work: meditative, richly sensual—an ode to the beauty of male bodies and to the inscrutability of their passions. In adaptating Melville's classic Billy Budd, Denis and co-scenarist Fargeau transpose ... Read more
Returning to Cameroon, the West African nation where she spent her childhood, a young Frenchwoman (Mireille Perrier) contemplates her youth, spent within the enclave of a colonial outpost, and the various characters who inhabited this idyll—notably her mother, Aimee; Luc, a visiting ... Read more
Though ostensibly based on a true story-of the 'Granny Killer' Thierry Paufin, who terrorised the outer arrondisements of Paris in the late 1980s, murdering a string of elderly women—Denis here appropriates a generic form (the serial-killer movie) as a means of addressing a number of her ... Read more
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 ... Read more
While virtually all of Denis' films have tacitly addressed the issue of family. this - her fifth narrative feature - confronts the subject explicitly. Boniface (Gregoire Colin) is a 19-year-old pizza chef living in Marseilles, where he spends his days tending to his pet rabbit and idly lusting ... Read more
One of Denis' most controversial films, this study of Parisian cock-fight handlers alienated some viewers with its unflinching (and clearly well-researched) depiction of a vicious sport; nevertheless, it remans an engrossing and challenging work. Two West African brothers, Dah and Jocelyn, make a ... Read more
Asked to contribute to the French TV mini-series Tous les Garcons et les Filles de Leur Age (All the Boys and Girls in Their Time)—which assigned ten European directors the task of creating films about their adolescence, stipulating only that each include a party scene filled with the music ... Read more
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