Dancing with Claire Denis

Moeko Fujii at The New Yorker:

Before I knew who Claire Denis was, she taught me how to dance. When I was eighteen, it was easier to stay in with a movie than to go to a party and be surrounded by strangers. One night, I watched Denis’s film “Beau Travail,” from 1999. Afterward, I couldn’t sleep. I kept replaying the ending, transfixed by a man with a battered face, Galoup. For ninety minutes, Galoup (Denis Lavant) is small and hunched, a military officer who, after being ejected from the French Foreign Legion, can’t find meaning in civilian life. In a closing scene, he makes his bed, carefully tucking in the corners, and lies down, clasping a gun. Then we hear the pulse of Corona’s disco hit “The Rhythm of the Night.” We cut to Galoup smoking in a night club, leaning against a panelled mirror. He bobs his head to the music, tracing loose arcs in the air with his cigarette. He snarls. He spins in a tight circle, smoke trailing him like a cape. Then, at the chorus, unsmiling and intent, he lets himself go, flying into the air, fingers splayed like a gecko’s. I can’t describe what it felt like watching him for the first time, more blur than human. But I remember what it did to me. I got up and I began to wave my hands above my head, alone in the dark.

more here.