CLAIRE DENIS: UNPREDICTABLE UNIVERSE
When: Oct. 30-Nov. 18. Where: Walker Art Center. Tickets: $7-$9; $45 for series.
French director Claire Denis has won an ardent coterie of admirers for her moving gracefully between formats and among, or outside of, established genres (from family drama to angst-ridden horror, crime story to politically tinged romance). An elastic, almost unclassifiable filmmaker, Denis' portraits of a modern, multicultural France reflect her African upbringing as the child of a French diplomat. With her multiethnic stock company of actors and minimal reliance on traditional exposition, Denis has created a world all her own. She's the subject of a seven-film career retrospective and Regis Dialogue at Walker Art Center beginning Tuesday.
A personal favorite is "35 Shots of Rum" (★★★, in subtitled French, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2, free). The title suggests a Bukowski-style roll in the gutter, but it's actually a calm celebration of the kind of life we rarely see in feature films: the normal kind. Denis focuses on a quartet of attractive characters living in a pleasant apartment block near Paris. Between them, they experience love in all its varieties: parent-child, unrequited, flirtatious, the deep bond between colleagues, yearning for distant and deceased relations. Without much plot or dialogue, Denis tells us volumes about her characters. Agnes Godard's stunning cinematography gives the deceptively simple tale a luscious gloss.
Film journalist Kent Jones interviews Denis at 8 p.m. Nov. 17.