Even if I didn’t particularly care for her last film, Let the Sunshine In (though Juliette Binoche is incredible in it), a new Claire Denis movie will always be a cause for celebration. And the Trouble Every Day and Beau Travail director helming an esoteric, erotic, deep space sci-fi thriller with an incredible cast? Well, that’s reason enough to throw a damn party. Her latest, High Life, has been on my must-watch radar since I first heard about it, and this new French trailer only cranks up my anticipation.
High Life tells the story of a crew of prisoners blasted into deep space as part of an experiment that appears to have something to do with fertility and black holes. (I’m sure there’s a joke to be made there.) This trailer looks odd and dreamy and harrowing and strange in so many ways. And early reactions from the festival circuit, where it recently debuted, only drive those points home.
Here’s a synopsis:
Deep space. Beyond our solar system. Monte and his infant daughter Willow live together aboard a spacecraft, in complete isolation. A solitary man, whose strict self-discipline is a protection against desire –his own and that of others– Monte fathered the girl against his will. His sperm was used to inseminate Boyse, the young woman who gave birth to her. They were members of a crew of prisoners: space convicts, death row inmates. Guinea pigs sent on a mission to the black hole closest to Earth. Now only Monte and Willow remain. And Monte is changed. Through his daughter, for the first time, he experiences the birth of an all-powerful love. Willow grows, becoming a young girl, then a young woman.
Claire Denis assembled a stellar (sorry, couldn’t help myself) cast for High Life. She reteams with Juliette Binoche; Robert Pattinson headlines the whole deal; between this and the Suspiria remake, Mia Goth is having a time; and Andre Benjamin AKA Outcast’s Andre 3000 adds another credit to a strong, increasingly interesting and diverse film resume.
High Life played the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. It opens in French cinemas November 7, and for the rest of us, A24 will release the picture stateside sometime in 2019.