Claire Denis film director started out her career in collaboration with such prominent filmmakers as Wim Wenders or Jim Jarmusch. Her first feature of her own had great international success.
Chocolat, made in 1988, is about a young woman returning to West-Africa to visit the spots of her childhood memories. The film gives an insight into the complicated network of a basically racist society. One of the main characters is played by Isaach De Bankol, who has since then appeared in Manderlay or The Limits of Control among others. The movie is based on autobiographical elements, as Denis herself was brought up on an African colony, and this experience has marked her life. The film was nominated to the Golden Palm in Cannes and the César Award as Best First Feature.
Beau travail was awarded at the Berlinale in 2000. This story evokes again the African memories with bitter-sweet nostalgia, this time through a foreign legion officer’s flashback. Beside several excellent actors Grégoire Colin, last year’s Titanic guest had the lead as in Denis’ other movies as well.
Audience favourite Trouble Every Dayis practically a mute film representing an American couple’s hopes and illusions falling apart on their arrival in Paris.
This year Denis is participating in Titanic with two films at the same time: one of them, 35 Shots of Rum shows the complex symbiosis of a group of friends through subtle moments, looks and silences, physical and intellectual contacts. The sensual, contemplating film evokes Eric Rohmer’s works. The other movie on the programme of the festival is White Material which allows the director to return in almost cyclic manner to her theme of Africa. In the lead Isabelle Huppert playing Maria, who refuses to acknowledge the conditions having changed on the former colony, the civil war going on in the country, and the disintegration of her family, sticking to the idyll of the past obsessively. The film is primarily the tragedy of a bygone world, and of a mother desperately clinging onto it.