Martine Beugnet
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Screening exile
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This chapter focuses on the representation of cultural tensions, and the issues of colonialism, identity and difference. Issues relating to colonialism and postcolonialism, to exile and alienation, always at play in Claire Denis' work, are central to the films discussed in the chapter. Chocolat's lush natural and historical setting and Beau travail's stunning open landscapes on the one hand, and S'en fout la mort's claustrophobic atmosphere and spare mise en scène, and J'ai pas sommeil's unusual portrayal of a noir Paris on the other, seem like aesthetic antinomies. After Chocolat, the shooting of the documentary Man No Run brought Denis back to France. S'en fout la mort, like Chocolat, was selected to represent France, this time at the Venice Festival. J'ai pas sommeil is set almost solely in the eighteenth district of Paris, one of the oldest parts of the city and a hybrid space.

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