Claire Denis: The Art of Seduction
For a filmmaker like Claire Denis, who traffics less in incident than in fleeting instants, less in the familiar comforts of story than in the ever-mounting pleasures of seduction, cinema is marked by slipperiness.
Music videos are the last place I would expect to find the French genius honing her craft. Yet there she was in 2006, shooting not one, but two . . .
With Friday Night Denis directs that attention to one woman’s experience over the course of a single night, an interstitial time out of time that would seem to be of little consequence but grows in power partly because of our awareness of and impatience with moments and opportunities squandered.
Structuring Trouble Every Day around the sensory rather than the story, Denis takes a characteristically elusive approach to narrative (later taken to its zenith in L’Intrus) devoid of most expository elements and inclined towards an atmospheric impressionism.
Although the curious and internet-savvy cinephile can, without too much hassle, find a way to see Claire Denis’s U.S. Go Home, its perpetual medley of Sixties pop songs (and their consequent licensing headaches) has kept it from easy viewing access in the United States.
This may be the most touching moment in the film, but perhaps the saddest occurs through an earlier loss, the beginning of this absence—the moment we realize Dah’s voiceover has stopped, and is no longer phasing in and out of our experience of the film.