Three by Claire Denis

Voilà l’enchaînement (2014)

Alex Descas and Norah Krief (a Shakespeare actress) are a mixed-race couple, and not incidentally. She calls him a stud, asks him to tattoo her name on his body, he says both remind him of slavery/ownership. Time passes, she’s paranoid, reports him to the cops for domestic violence and he’s arrested. His prison monologue about “the trap” and his ponderings on racism afterwards feels too much like reciting the moral at the end of an educational film, though I like the rhythm of his speech.

Duo (1995)

Very short, the camera cruising around a painting (of another mixed-race couple) while Descas smokes outside the frame.

Towards Mathilde (2005)

This played at Big Ears, but we were too busy seeing live music. A rehearsal/process movie, prepping for a show that uses squirky noises and elastic materials, working out to PJ Harvey songs. One of my arms has been stiff lately and I’ve kept a small weight by the bed and the desk so I can grab it anytime and stretch out. I’m not usually inspired to do this during movies, but with this doc focusing so much on arm movements, I got a real workout. The day I watched this the new Denis hadn’t screened at Cannes yet, but the Cronenberg had, and I happened to read a Kristen Stewart interview right after watching this:

The most simple answer comes from a place of wisdom. You don’t have to complicate certain ideas. Like, “The body is reality.” At first, I was really trying to shove that concept in my head: What does it mean to me and the world and on every level? But he was like, “I shoot people.” That’s it! It’s a body. All of that is surprising. These are really lofty concepts, but also they’re not at all.