Five Films by Claire Denis, Including BASTARDS Preview, Set for Moving Image, Now thru 10/22
Museum of the Moving Image will present five films by the French director Claire Denis, to coincide with the theatrical release of her latest feature, Bastards, which is being distributed by Sundance Selects. The Museum's retrospective, running from today, October 13 through 22, will include four of Denis's greatest films and concludes with a preview screening of Bastards.
The series Five by Claire Denis opens with her best-known film Beau Travail (1999), an adaptation of Herman Melville's Billy Budd, set amongst the French Foreign Legion in Djibouti, and starring Denis Lavant (Holy Motors) and Claire Denis regular Grégoire Colin. The films Chocolat (1988), Denis's debut feature and semiautobiographical tale of a young girl growing up in 1950s Cameroon, and Trouble Every Day (2001), a vivid, sensuous, and gory take on horror starring Vincent Gallo and Beatrice Dalle, will be presented in brand new 35mm prints from Film Desk. The series also includes The Intruder (L'Intrus) (2004), a film of lush, mysterious images and textures, which follows an inscrutable older man (Michel Subor) as he searches the globe for his lost son (Colin).
Bastards (Les salauds) (2013), which recently premiered at the New York Film Festival, is Denis's first digitally shot film (by the great cinematographer and frequent Denis collaborator Agnes Godard), a contemporary film noir and savage revenge drama starring Vincent Lindon, Chiara Mastroianni, and Julie Bataille. About its festival showing Keith Uhlich of Time Out New York wrote "It's almost certain you'll be lost during Claire Denis's elliptical, bracingly angry portrait of a French family undone by its failures and perversities. That's the point, though, and it makes for one of the festival's most difficult yet rewarding experiences." Journalist and film critic Eric Hynes will introduce the Museum's preview screening on October 22.
"There can be a stark, ominous beauty in Claire Denis's films, which are at once mysterious, precise, and breathtaking," said David Schwartz, the Museum's Chief Curator.
Five by Claire Denis is part of the Museum's ongoing series See It Big!, presented in collaboration with the online film journal Reverse Shot.
SCHEDULE FOR 'FIVE BY CLAIRE DENIS,' OCTOBER 13-22, 2013:
All screenings take place in the Sumner M. Redstone Theater or the Bartos Screening Room at Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Avenue in Astoria. Screenings are included with Museum admission and free for Museum members unless otherwise noted. Tickets for Friday evening screenings (when the Museum offers free gallery admission) are $12 adults / $9 students and senior citizens. All films directed by Claire Denis.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13, 7:00 P.M.
1999, 90 mins. 35mm. With Denis Lavant, Grégoire Colin. Denis transplants Herman Melville's Billy Budd to the French Foreign Legion in Djibouti in this transcendent film which brought her cinema to new heights of visual poetry. She creates an insular, homoerotic world in which a drama plays out between a master sergeant (Lavant, of Holy Motors) and a handsome new recruit (Colin) whose immaculateness he finds both attractive and alarming. Nearly every shot is a stunner in this sensual experience, which many consider Denis's very best film.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18, 7:00 P.M.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19, 4:30 P.M.
1988, 105 mins. New 35mm print courtesy of Film Desk. With Isaach de Bankolé, Giulia Boschi, François Cluzet. The first feature from the brilliant French filmmaker Claire Denis is a searing and eloquent work of semiautobiography that centers on a young white woman's memories of growing up in 1950s Cameroon. Most of the film deals with the complicated relationship between her mother and their houseboy, Protée (a remarkable de Bankolé). This beautifully made meditation on class, race, nationality, and colonialism touches on many themes Denis would continue to plumb through her formidable career.
Trouble Every Day
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19, 7:00 P.M.
2001, 101 mins. New 35mm print courtesy of Film Desk. With Vincent Gallo, Tricia Vessey, Beatrice Dalle. Denis brings her brand of cinematic intimacy to the horror genre, and the result is, unsurprisingly, shocking. Trouble Every Day is a different kind of vampire movie, a vivid and sensuous-and very gory-tale of all-consuming seduction concerning a man and a woman infected with a sickness that conflates the urge for sex and blood. As tender as it is terrifying, Denis's film is a remarkable plunge into carnality.
The Intruder (L'intrus)
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20, 7:00 P.M.
2004, 130 mins. Imported 35mm print. With Michel Subor, Grégoire Colin, Beatrice Dalle. A film of lush, mysterious images and textures, Denis's globe-skipping epic follows an inscrutable man (Subor) from France's Jura mountains to Switzerland, Korea, and Tahiti as he searches for a lost, illegitimate son. He also is in dire need of a heart transplant. But this simple description barely does justice to the fragmented, enigmatic, and indescribably rich world Denis creates here, which rewards patient, attentive viewers with an internal, metaphorical portrait of heartsickness and the search for happiness.
Bastards (Les salauds)
Introduced by journalist and film critic Eric Hynes
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 22, 7:00 P.M.
2013, 100 mins. DCP courtesy of IFC Films. With Vincent Lindon, Chiara Mastroianni, Julie Bataille. Denis's nighttime thriller is her first digitally photographed work (by the great cinematographer Agnès Godard), a graphic and absorbing tale of murder, sex, and business that was loosely inspired by Akira Kurosawa's film The Bad Sleep Well, and by an act of sexual violence from William Faulkner's Sanctuary.
Tickets: $15 public / $9 Museum members / free for Silver Screen members and above.