Claire Denis

Claire Denis


I realised that I wanted to make films but I continued to find that immodest. At the same time I was telling myself: I’ll have to change. The world was changing, it was less fun to be rebellious    


Claire Denis initially studied economics, but, she has said, "It was completely suicidal. Everything pissed me off." She then went to the IDHEC, the French film school, at the encouragement of her husband. He told her she needed to figure out what she wanted to do. She graduated from the IDHEC, and served as assistant to Jacques Rivette, Costa-Gavras, Jim Jarmusch, and Wim Wenders. Since 2002 Claire Denis has been a Professor of Film at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerlan Her debut feature film CHOCOLAT (1988), a semi-autobiographical meditation on African colonialism, won her critical acclaim. With films such as US GO HOME (1994), NENETTE ET BONI (1996), BEAU TRAVAIL (1999), TROUBLE VERY DAY (2001), and VENDREDI SOIR (2002) she established a reputation as a filmmaker who "has been able to reconcile the lyricism of French cinema with the impulse to capture the often harsh face of contemporary France." A large number of Denis' films concentrate on the everyday lives of immigrants and French people of African origin. Indeed, a lion's share of her films possess a central character that is a black male; this tendency remains unique to Denis in both France and abroad. However, Denis' films can be said to maintain less avowed political overtness than subtle multiculturalism and plurality. Denis was a band leader, worked as an actress, notably in Venus Beauty Institute (2000), and directed for French TV. Two of her movies, L'INTRUS and her contribution to Ten Minutes Older: The Cello, were inspired by the French philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, as Denis and Nancy have confirmed in a video lecture at European Graduate School

Films Selection

  • To the Devil (Aller au diable) - 2011
  • White Material - 2010
  • 35 Rhums - 2008
  • L'Intrus - 2004
  • Vendredi Soir - 2002
  • Trouble Every Day - 2001
  • Beau Travail - 1999
  • Nénette et Boni - 1996
  • US Go Home - 1994
  • Chocolat - 1988