Claire Denis: Uncharted Territories

November 2 - 15, 2012

Claire Denis

The Department of Film and Media Studies and the Department of French and Italian in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the Institut Français and Unifrance present five critically-acclaimed films by Claire Denis, one of the most highly-regarded French filmmakers working today.

Screenings and Events

About the Series

Four major films will be screened at Emory leading up to Ms. Denis¿s visit.  Screenings will take place on November 2, 5, 9, and 12. All films are shown in 35mm (except where noted), are open to the public, and will be introduced by Emory faculty at 7:30 in White Hall 205, 301 Dowman Drive, Emory campus, 30322.

On November 14 at 7:30 pm, Ms. Denis will introduce a screening of her latest film, White Material (2009) and on November 15 at 6:00 pm, she will be the focus of a Creativity Conversation.  Both events will take place on the Emory campus in White Hall 208. All events are free and open to the public.

For directions and parking, please visit

For additional information, contact the Department of Film and Media Studies, 404-727-6761.

Cosponsors of this program are Emory¿s Program in African Studies, the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry, the Hightower Fund, and the Departments of African American Studies, Comparative Literature, English, History, Theater Studies and Women/Gender/Sexuality Studies.  

About the Director

Claire Denis is one of the major artistic voices in contemporary French cinema and a key figure in world cinema. After working as an assistant director to Jim Jarmusch and Wim Wenders among others, she made her directing debut in 1988 with Chocolat--a film about a French girl growing up in a colonial outpost in Africa. Since then, Denis has become known for her fearless exploration of a wide range of contemporary subjects and often extreme human situations; her films are informed by her own experiences of displacement during her childhood in Africa and then her emigration to France as a teenager.  Most of all, her films reflect a deep awareness of the complexities of French post-colonialism as played out in the lives of ¿ordinary¿ people.

Throughout her career, and across a wide variety of genres, Ms. Denis has developed a highly individualistic approach to narratives of intense engagement in the here and now.  Her films allude to or sometimes adapt great works of literature (for example, Herman Melville¿s Billy Budd for 1999¿s Beau Travail) and cinema (Yasujiro Ozu¿s 1949 Late Spring for 2008¿s 35 Shots of Rum), continuing  a dialogue with writers and filmmakers. Her visual style favors long takes, extreme close ups and associative editing.  Dance is ever-present in her films.  Music, whether it is mainstream, world music or specifically composed for her movies, is so important that it could be considered a character in her films. 

Claire Denis' films show characters too often absent from mainstream cinema such as exiles, immigrants, or people living at the margins of the society. She has said, ¿We are always trying and failing to understand the world and ourselves. We never really know the final meaning of our life. Literature and the cinema should reflect that.¿