Dennis Lim has a great appreciation in the Village Voice today about Claire Denis’s memorable and mysterious new film L’Intrus (or, The Intruder). Opening at the Quad in some kind of stealth release from Wellspring, the film continues the intuitive, searching and philosophical cinema that Denis has been pursuing since Beau Travail. It’s a cinema in which storyline, subtext, motivation and the unconcious are all interwoven as they collectively pursue a meaning that is as much in the viewer’s mind as it is in the celluloid.
Writes Lim: “Allergic to the dictates of linear storytelling, her movies have grown increasingly convulsive in their ellipses and associations. More than any other narrative filmmaker working, Denis chases the rapture of rupture. Her latest feature, The Intruder, is a decisive breakthrough — her most poetic and primal film to date, as thrilling as it is initially baffling.”
Lest you think this story of a man searching for a lost son after receiving a heart transplant is forbiddingly intellectual, please note that Denis is one of cinema’s great sensualists. Her films have an almost tactile immediacy, and their seductive surfaces and rhythms are constructed to allow the viewer to find his or her own place within them.
As she comments in Senses of Cinema: “I think in a way people expect so much of a film, so many answers, that they are very much afraid to let themselves drift. My films are not highly intellectual, and L’Intrus is like a boat lost in the ocean drifting, you know? I think that’s the way I picture it.”