L’intrus [The Intruder] – dir. Claire Denis
In what Claire Denis described as her own mood piece inspired by Jean-Luc Nancy’s book of the same name, The Intruder is the most ecstatically puzzling of her career, a haunting exploration of a man dying of heart failure (Michel Subor). Denis subtly takes you into the mind of Louis, blending his fantasies into the already challenging narrative. What we do know is that he has a son (Grégoire Colin) he barely sees, a failing heart and is visited by a young Russian woman (Katia Golubeva), to whom he owes a large sum of money and might be a manifestation of his imagination (or “the Angel of Death,” as some have speculated).
I don’t think I’m alone in claiming The Intruder to be Denis’ most difficult in deciphering (nor in my total fascination with it). And still, it’s somehow everything I want out of one of her films: frustration, bewilderment and atmosphere. Similar to Beau travail, my other favorite film of hers, The Intruder only seems to strengthen through memory, even if returning to it still proves to be an extremely complex endeavor.
With: Michel Subor, Grégoire Colin, Katia Golubeva, Bambou, Florence Loiret-Caille, Alex Descas, Béatrice Dalle, Lolita Chammah, Kin Dong-ho, Henri Tetainanuarii, Jean-Marc Teriipaia, Anna Tetuaveroa
Screenplay: Claire Denis, Jean-Pol Fargeau, based on the book by Jean-Luc Nancy
Cinematography: Agnès Godard
Music: Stuart Staples
Country of Origin: France
US Distributor: Wellspring
Premiere: 9 September 2004 (Venice Film Festival)
US Premiere: 18 March 2005 (Rendezvous with French Cinema)