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In the Limelight: Claire Denis

Matthijs Wouter Knol, Claire Denis
In the films of Claire Denis one often feels that all is well even as worlds collide and collapse or, conversely, that a serious challenge underlies the seemingly calm moments. One of French cinema’s most distinctive and humanist storytellers, her films capture the emotional and social effects of cross-cultural tensions and alienation. They depict her deep affection and solidarity with marginalised characters – immigrants, exiles, alienated individuals, sexual transgressives – and are at the same time a contemplative examination of ambivalent, sometimes undecipherable postcolonial identities. Following her outstanding début film CHOCOLAT, she has made films such as NÉNETTE ET BONI, TROUBLE EVERY DAY, VENDREDI SOIR, 35 Rhums and WHITE MATERIAL establishing a reputation as one of the only current French filmmakers who “has been able to reconcile the lyricism of French cinema with the impulse to capture the often harsh face of contemporary France”. Claire Denis, whose BEAU TRAVAIL will be screened in this year‘s “4 Decades of the Forum” programme, will talk about her non-conformative, highly individualistic style of making films and her profound interest in exploring the themes of belonging and otherness, the gravity and the gift of foreignness.

Angela Regenbrecht/European Film Academy

Matthijs Wouter Knol

Matthijs Wouter Knol is the CEO and director of the European Film Academy since 2021. Previously, he was an award-winning documentary producer. After a short stint at IDFA, he worked for the Berlinale as the Berlinale Talents programme manager (2008-2014) and director of the European Film Market (2014-2020). Among his key missions at the European Film Academy are supporting, connecting and uniting the best people and work in European cinema.

Claire Denis

Renowned Paris-based filmmaker, her debut film CHOCOLAT brought her straight to Cannes. She has also directed the award-winning NÉNETTE ET BONI, GOOD WORK, TROUBLE EVERY DAY and TOWARDS MATHILDE which was screened at the 2005 Berlinale Forum. Her 1999 film GOOD WORK was screened in 4 Decades of the Forum programme in 2010.