Jaime’s Film Diary: March 15, 2020

As expected, I’ve been keeping my Letterboxd up to date – so here’s yet another update for here in regards to what I have been watching as of late.

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‘Beau Travail’ Review: A Celebration of Claire Denis’s Magnificent Work

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In English, “Beau Travail” translates out to “good work,” which is the perfect way to describe what one is to expect from what the characters do in Beau Travail. Claire Denis’s film Beau Travail is one that embraces how it feels to have achieved something that truly happens to be so great, but also the jealousy that would come forth especially from a field that is often touted for being the greatest service to humanity. But Claire Denis makes a different sort of film about the military, one that many others wouldn’t ever manage to come close to creating because it’s an angle that often seems to be unfamiliar to films with similar subject matter. If there’s anything else to be said, it’s also what makes the work of Claire Denis every bit as hypnotic as it is, for you’re sitting there watching her strip down masculinity to its bare bones in order to make one of the best films about repressed emotions and their effect on the human condition. It’s a film that’s so beautiful for its own nakedness, but among the many hypnotic qualities that Beau Travail carries they neither stop nor end there.

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Juliette Binoche and the Search for a Sense of Connection in Claire Denis’s Let the Sunshine In

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In getting a perfect grasp at what it feels like to live within the lifestyle of Juliette Binoche’s Isabelle in Let the Sunshine In, Claire Denis keeps the camera lingering at long gaps between conversations. In talking about what these moments evoke thematically, what you also are experiencing is something so clearly fragmented by the fact that life is made to feel a bit too extraordinary for oneself to control – but because of this it is so hard to find what is natural in a flourishing relationship anymore. But of course the concept of love is something so complex, because for some it may seem happy as an idea and the reality is something so cynical, even attempts at letting the “sunshine” in only manage to bring out the worst in oneself. It’s the way that Claire Denis understands this emotion that keeps Let the Sunshine In so thoroughly engaging, because not a single facet is ignored – in trying to get down to the bone of what this “sunshine” feels like. But to what extent do we know it is truly communicating to our senses, in this new Denis film we see a whole other level of this mood, and what comes forth is something so melancholy.

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A Fear of Skin and Desire in Claire Denis’s Trouble Every Day

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There’s a very sort of sensuality that Claire Denis makes you experience from watching her films, but the confrontation is never always the most comfortable. It is this very feeling that is embraced through her vampiric horror film Trouble Every Day and for many reasons more I also consider it to be the best horror film of the 21st century. It is a film that uncomfortably lingers upon the extent of human desire even to that point where the mere confrontation of such would already leave us feeling uneasy on the inside, but as close as we get to these moments they also reveal a whole lot more about human nature in and of itself. Yet there’s only so much that Claire Denis is aware that any of her viewers can manage to take into one watch, and thus it makes the horror even more repulsive as it comes by. As these layers start coming off one by one, so does the making of a great horror film by instinct. Like every one of the best films associated with New French Extremity, calling this refined would not be fitting but it also exemplifies everything that Claire Denis can be like when she is at her absolute best, thus what comes forth is what I believe to be the best horror film of the 21st century.

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High Life, a Contemplative, Tragic Tale Made Haunting by Director Claire Denis’s Thoughtfulness: TIFF Review

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Claire Denis is without a doubt one of the most fascinating filmmakers working today, but one can only find it so difficult where exactly to place expectations for what could turn out from a film set in deep space written and directed by her. There’s no exact way for one to define the sort of films that she makes, but that’s part of the reason she has remained one to keep my own eyes peeled out for. Yet I don’t think even having loved so many of Claire Denis’s past films can prepare me for what was set to come forth with High Life, because there’s another door she’s opening with this film that I don’t even know if many other filmmakers would ever dare to approach. But I think that’s why I know for a fact that I love what she does behind the camera, because I know that with films like this she’ll truly remain one of cinema’s greatest miracles, especially if we are going to speak those who are still working today. High Life is a difficult film to describe, but that’s one among many reasons I still find it to be so infinitely fascinating too, because it’s almost like Claire Denis is making a film all about what’s set up for humanity’s own future too, and it also makes me look forward to more English-language features from her.

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