Archive for March 6th, 2020

 © 2020 by James Clark


    The films of Claire Denis tend to elicit a tribute to her audacity. On the heels of that given, there is the thrill of a supposed pronounced modernity. Viewers and reviewers directly understand that narrative means virtually nothing to her, because her forte is “mood” and “texture,” being apparently applied in such a way as to constitute a new and superior logic.

A film like, Trouble Every Day (2001), our challenge today—and quite widely thought to be her breakaway magnum opus—happens to be suffused with not only the narrative of Ingmar Bergman’s film, Scenes from a Marriage (1973), but also Bergman’s, The Passion of Anna (1969); and more Bergman to come. Those infrastructural crises therewith, which Denis handles—as always, with sophistication and delicacy—do not, in fact, countenance cannibalism  as a cosmological method. Nor do they countenance a mobilization of neuroscience to develop a medicine to curb sadistic murder by which the gratification remains, but free of messy bloodshed and messy law.

It must be made clear from the outset that Denis has no time, per se, for the infantile fantasy-pastime of vampires. Two broad hints concerning that matter should suffice. In connection with the stately Japanese filmmaker, Yasujiro  Ozu, she shuts the door in this way: “I dislike cinephilia and the cult of auteurism” [which is to say, genre, tried and true entertainments, like horror movies]. A second distancing, from a BBC broadcast on the subject of violence in, Trouble Every Day, says a mouthful: “This film concerns what happens when you tangle with something that is stronger than you are.” (more…)

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