Summary of “The Fearless Cinema of Claire Denis”

Only as an adult did Claire Denis realize that she hadn’t been afraid of the lions all those years ago.
Alex Descas, one of the actors with whom Denis has worked longest, and who credits her with writing complicated, realistic roles for black actors at a time when few others did, described her artistic mode succinctly: “Film is not theatre,” he told me.
Last month, at a screening of her latest movie, “Let the Sunshine In,” at the IFC Center, in Manhattan, Denis said, “I once read that I like to film bodies. No! But, if you choose someone, that person has a body. They have feet, hands, hair, breasts, ass-all of that is part of what is important.” The film stars Juliette Binoche, as a divorced painter who dates men she shouldn’t: a married banker, a narcissistic actor, a standoffish curator.
Denis saw Pattinson in “Twilight,” she said, and was struck by his “Heartrending charisma.” She had wanted someone older for “High Life”-she thought at one point of Philip Seymour Hoffman-but after meeting with Pattinson in Los Angeles and Paris she realized that “He was already in the film.” She went on, “When he said to me, ‘Are you sure?’ I said, ‘It’s already too late. It’s you or nobody else.'” She chose “High Life” ‘s other stars, including Juliette Binoche and the English model and actress Mia Goth, with similarly instinctual possessiveness.
Claire Denis was eight weeks old when she and her mother moved from Paris to Cameroon, where her father was serving as a French colonial administrator.
In the early seventies, Denis began a traditional apprenticeship, assisting mostly on films shot in Paris.
After buying coffee and taking her seat, Denis began to talk about her mother, who had died, at the age of ninety-four, six months earlier, during the filming of “High Life.” Still in mourning, Denis seemed incapable of avoiding the topic, turning to it in many of our conversations, with little or no segue.
Hamilton recalled witnessing the initial meeting between Denis and Pattinson, in Los Angeles, and feeling like “These are two people on a date, and I really shouldn’t be here, maybe I should actually remove myself?” With obvious pride, Denis recounted how Pattinson took the train from London to visit her in Paris.

The orginal article.