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Claire Denis Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (1)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (6)  | Trivia (7)  | Personal Quotes (16)

Overview (1)

Born in Paris, France

Mini Bio (1)

Claire Denis was born on April 21, 1946 in Paris, France. She is a director and writer, known for 35 Shots of Rum (2008), Beau travail (1999) and Nenette and Boni (1996).

Trade Mark (6)

Elliptical edit
Hypnotical mood
Themes regarding colonialism
Focus on the faces and bodies of her protagonists
Frequently works with Tindersticks
Often works with cinematographer Agnès Godard

Trivia (7)

Professor at La Femis (Paris)
Member of the jury at the Venice Film Festival in 2005.
Studied Economics.
Raised in colonial French Africa.
Worked as an extra on Robert Bresson's Four Nights of a Dreamer. She can be seen walking by the Seine in a night scene.
Ancient student at L'IDHEC (La FEMIS).
Worked as an assistant director to Wim Wenders (on Paris,Texas and Der Himmel über Berlin) and Jim Jarmusch (Down by Law).

Personal Quotes (16)

I have a dreamy distance with reality, which is not a really good thing.
Every image is about subjectivity.
Life is made of the only thing you can decide, the rest you can not: to commit suicide or to kill someone. The rest, happens.
The cinema gives pleasure, certainly. But most of all for me, film-making is a journey into the impossible.
I suppose I am interested in the variety of human life - how people live. I am most interested in individuals and how they respond to challenges or to difficulties, or just to each other. I am curious about people. So that's why I do a lot of different things. The cinema should be human and be part of people's lives; it should focus on ordinary existences in sometimes extraordinary situations and places. That is what really motivates me.
Oh, I hate post-screening Q&As! You see a film, you don't want to ask questions. All those stupid explanations!
In life I am maybe not possessive enough. But in film - so much. I want to take my actors home with me, I get jealous when I see them act in other movies. You spend two months looking so closely at them that you can tell if a single eyelash is out of place. Then they are gone.
I was not a stranger in France. I was raised like a French person. But my father was born and raised in Bangkok. My mother is half Brazilian. I was raised in Africa. But of course France is my country. I'm proud to be French, you know? I think it's good to recognize where you come from.
[In 2018, age 72] Am I happy with getting older? It's a disaster. It's a wreck. To be able to stay up for three nights without sleep, to get so drunk you are in a coma - these things I miss the most. On the other hand, my body is able to move, I still have feelings and I'm making films.
A film, during shooting and pre-production, is a sort of new era, a new relationship in my life. It's a completely different moment; I never experienced it before. Making a film happens once, not twice, so there's no experience. It's the first and only time, and it's the only time in the editing room that I can suddenly see a little bit of myself in the film.
I guess my films are made out of tenderness and love of human beings even when they can be very brutal.
If there are theories about me, I'd rather not know. Astrophysics - now that's fascinating. String theory, worm holes, the expanding universe, the Big Bang versus the Big Bounce - those are the kind of theories that make you feel like living and understanding the mystery of the world. Film theory is just a pain in the ass.
Memory, time, cinema. It's the same thing, really.
[about Africa, where she spent her childhood] When I die, if I'm conscious, these are the landscapes and faces I will remember.
I think filmmaking is sexy. So every film is sexy for me. If a film is not sexy, it's a little bit embarrassing, you know? Even if it's very stern, even if it's "Mouchette" by Bresson, it is sexy. A film that has no relation to sex, I don't know what it is.
In books and films there are things that move me a lot, they are life's rituals: people sharing breakfast, people taking off their shoes when they come in, people who make their beds when they get up in the morning, those who don't, those that open the window to let fresh air come in, etc. Rituals. I am always told we can't film rituals; that they are boring because they happen again and again, but specifically that's what I love.

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