Now at the acme of her slow-burn career—she turned 72 last year—Claire Denis is producing work that is superlative. Her newest works conjure feelings of an unrivalled intensity and tenderness. This article considers her English-language sci-fi film High Life (2018) and her French rom-com Un Beau Soleil Intérieur [Let the Sunshine In] (2017) in parallel, arguing that the two films converge as forceful meditations on love and death. In the world of Denis, tenderness characterizes the gentlest, most delicate feelings, but is also about vulnerability, a sensitivity to pain. Denis brings these qualities into relief as she contemplates death and a finite future through these two stories of a female artist exploring relationships and of convict passengers on a space ship. Through the roles of actress Juliette Binoche in each film, Denis takes a feminist stance on ageing and sexuality, as she also looks openly at other human feelings.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.