Claire Denis on the set of Bastards

Claire Denis, one of the great filmmakers of the last 30 years, has never shied away from genre fiction, be it noir (No Fear, No Die, Bastards), vampire horror (Trouble Every Day), serial killer stories (I Can’t Sleep), or whatever was going on with that Russian organ-harvesting ring in The Intruder. For her next project, she’ll be trying her hand at futuristic sci-fi, with the help of English novelist Zadie Smith and Smith’s husband Nick Laird.

Denis has a good reason for bringing on two English-language writers as collaborators on the project: it will be her first entirely in English. (Several of Denis’ earlier films have featured English dialogue, usually coming from the mouth of Vincent Gallo.) French physicist Aurélien Barrau, best known for his work on black holes, is also working on the project; Barrau previously collaborated on a book with philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy, whose writings inspired The Intruder.


Screen Daily reports that installation artist Olafur Eliasson is being tapped in some capacity, which should give some idea of what a Claire Denis future might look like. The as-yet-untitled project, which is set “beyond the solar system,” will begin shooting in Germany either late this year or very early in 2016. No plot details have been announced. Tindersticks frontman (and longtime Denis collaborator) Stuart Staples will be writing the score.

UPDATED: Denis collaborated with Eliasson on a short film last year, which now appears to be a sketch for the upcoming project. The three-minute piece, titled Contact, was produced by Alcatraz Films, which is producing the upcoming feature. The score is by Staples; Denis’ regular cinematographer Agnes Godard shot it in collaboration with Yorick Le Saux (Only Lovers Left Alive). It can be viewed below.

Claire Denis, Contact by Olafur Eliasson from Studio Olafur Eliasson on Vimeo.