James S. Williams
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Beyond the Other
Grafting space and human relations in the trans-cinema of Claire Denis
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The freewheeling, nomadic intensities of Claire Denis's films are among the marvels of contemporary cinema. She explores in concrete detail the different ways people inhere in the world: the forms and patterns of human movement, the gestures of the human figure in space. This chapter focuses on Beau Travail and L'Intrus, Denis's most complete and perfectly realised experiments in cinematic being through and across form. It examines some of the pivotal moments of spatial 'translation' and reframing of otherness in her subsequent work up to and including White Material. The chapter suggests that interior intertextual space is not simply a conceptual sphere of her cinema, but also a uniquely performative and sensuous, trans-aesthetic space that operates in the cinematic present as a generative cell. This interior intertextual space is for the negotiation and potential 'resolution' of external space and otherness.

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