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Masterclass: Claire Denis

Mistrzowska lekcja kina: Claire Denis

moderator: Ariel Schweitzer

Claire Denis

French director and screenwriter Claire Denis is one of the most important auteurs of modern film. She gained much experience assisting Rivette, Costa-Gavras, Jarmusch and Wenders. Already in her debut, Chocolat (1988), she dealt with issues of racial and intercultural tensions, a topic she experienced in her childhood as the daughter of a colonial civil servant in Africa. The problem of colonialism and inequality in access to goods and education are leitmotifs in her work, which is also fueled by ideals of Paris '68. This is most powerfully expressed in Good Work(1999) starring Denis Lavant and White Material (2009) featuring Isabelle Huppert. In portraying her homeland, she is sensitive to social issues such as the situation of immigrants, which she took on in I Can't Sleep (1994), the frustrations of civil servants - Friday Night (2002), or family relationships, as in TheIntruder (2004). Against that background, Denis often sketches the erotic character of French society, as is evident in Trouble Every Day (2001) starring Béatrice Dalle, one of her favorite actresses. She also frequently casts Isaach de Bankole and Grégoire Colin. Denis works regularly with cinematographer Agnès Godard, whom she met in the 1970s at La Fmis, the French state film school in Paris, where Denis currently teaches film directing. The 2013 documentary Trespassing Bergman by Jane Magnusson and Hynek Pallas indicates that even the great Ingmar Bergman prized the films of Claire Denis.